Patients needing ‘urgent’ care told to still visit hospital despite coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 11:20 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:47 07 May 2020

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Picture: ARCHANT

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Picture: ARCHANT


People in need of urgent or immediate care have been encouraged to still visit Colchester and Ipswich hospitals for treatment - despite the Covid-19 crisis.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the two hospitals, said there has been a 69% decrease in the number of referrals of patients suspected of having cancer.

They have also seen a “very limited” number of people who need urgent and immediate help for strokes and cardiac care.

Nick Hulme, ESNEFT chief executive, said: “Help us to help you is our very clear message.

“We know that many people who need urgent or immediate help are not coming into hospital or visiting their family doctors.

“I completely understand the fear and apprehension everyone may be feeling, but we really do need to give people confidence so that people get the care they need.

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“We need to change this and we need to do this quickly.”

Mr Hulme said the trust is continuing to plan for the care of patients who need urgent and essential treatment.

It is reviewing the plans previously made with patients waiting for surgery, particularly those whose operations are urgent.

He has reassured communities that patients will only be physically brought into the hospital for a test or to see a specialist in a face to face setting when needed.

Otherwise, appointments will be carried out virtually, via both telephone or videolink.

Mr Hulme added: “There is a great deal of work going on to make our hospitals and services safe and clean. This includes extra cleaning in all areas.

“It also involves having specific and dedicated areas throughout our services which are known as ‘green areas’ - places where no-one being cared for with Covid-19 has been treated.

“And we are very clear about the importance of social distancing – staying at least two metres away from one another.”

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