Ana Duarte was one of the first patients to return to King George Hospital, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, after planned surgery restarted on Wednesday (10 June).
These procedures were among routine appointments which were postponed due to Covid-19, and some patients may understandably be a little anxious about coming back into hospital. However, Ana, 54, was completely reassured thanks to the measures the Trust has put in place to keep patients safe, including a new hospital layout.
She said: “I felt comfortable coming in and it felt safer having separate entrances. I was wearing a face mask the whole time, as were those who were looking after me.
“The care I received was really good and I was very happy – I had no concerns about my treatment.”
It was a very different patient experience for Ana compared with when she was last at King George Hospital –when she had her son in 2007. This time around she was having an investigative procedure.
Planned surgeries were postponed at the start of the pandemic to keep patients safe, however, it has become clear that the Trust could not wait for Covid-19 to pass to reinstate them, so it has created a system to reintroduce them safely.
Measures include requiring those who are offered a planned surgery appointment to self-isolate before and after their procedure; having a swab test 48 to 72 hours before their surgery; and having a temperature check on the day.
Staff working in areas where planned surgery takes place are also having temperature checks at the start of each shift.
A dedicated entrance and exit for patients having surgery has also been created.
The Trust’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Magda Smith, said: “I’m really pleased to hear that Ana had a good experience at King George Hospital following the reintroduction of some of our planned surgeries. We know that some of our patients are feeling anxious about coming to hospital at the moment, so it is great to hear the steps we have taken made Ana feel comfortable. It is particularly important at the moment that our patients feel reassured we are taking measures to keep them safe.”
Ana also praised the follow-up care she received after going home. She added: “They’ve called me to see how I am doing and if I’ve had any problems.”
More information about how the Trust has restarted planned surgery can be found on the website.