DHSC Issues Covid Rules

A series of measures to protect patients, staff and the wider public from coronavirus have been introduced across the island’s health and care services for the length of the circuit-break lockdown.

Restrictions on visiting are in place at all health and care settings including Noble’s and Ramsey Cottage Hospitals, along the same lines as during the last circuit breaker lockdown. Visits will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances and in agreement with ward or centre managers.

DHSC residential homes for older people, dementia care residential units and learning disability community homes are also closed to all non-essential visitors, while Adult Social Care day services have been suspended in line with advice to stay at home and avoid the mixing of households. The measure applies to older people’s, dementia care and learning disability day services Island-wide. Learning disability and older people’s respite care facilities will be available on a case-by-case basis, to meet assessed essential needs.  

Community health and care services will continue in most areas, although with some changes and a number of mitigations in place. Community based practitioners such as district nurses will continue to visit homes and care settings but will wear appropriate PPE.  

Community Health Centres will remain open and clinics will continue, though some non-urgent appointments may be converted to telephone based or cancelled to ensure social distancing is maintained within waiting rooms and clinical areas. Patients with scheduled appointments and visits will receive a phone call prior to the appointment to confirm arrangements. 

Mental Health Services – Inpatient wards within Manannan Court will offer care and treatment as normal with appropriate use of PPE. Visiting will also be restricted for exceptional reasons only.  

The following community-based teams will continue to offer face-to-face outpatient review and community based visits where it is considered clinically necessary, accommodated through use of PPE. Where remote or telephone contact is safe and viable this will be the preferred mode of contact. 

  • Community Wellbeing Service (CWS)

  • Crisis Response Home Treatment Team (CRHTT)

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

  • Community Mental Health Service for Adults (CMHSA)

  • Older Persons Mental Health Service For Adults (OPMHS)

  • Drug and Alcohol Team (DAT)

Next Step and Brunswick Gardens day services will close during the lockdown, however existing service users will be offered support by the team at Next Step.

The Eric and Marion Scott Oncology Day Unit will continue to provide treatments as normal and patients should attend appointments unless advised otherwise. Macmillan Cancer Information Centre at Noble’s Hospital will be available by phone (01624 650735) or email rather than in person, and patients are encouraged to continue to use these.   

Cancer screening services will continue to operate as usual, with the exception of the Staywell Clinic. It is important that patients attend their appointments unless they or someone they live with has symptoms of coronavirus

Diagnostic imaging will also continue as normal unless patients with an appointment are contacted to advise them of a change, and patients are encouraged to attend their appointments. 

Maternity services at Noble’s have revised protocols in place which are less restrictive than during the last circuit break period. One person can visit the Jane Crookall Maternrity Unit both antental (before birth) and postnatal (after birth) between 10am and 8pm. One birthing partner is permitted for the period of labour or an elective section. It is essential that the named visitor/birthing partner adheres to the guidance that once they have entered the unit they remain there for the period of their visit. This is necessary to promote the safety of patients and staff.  

Community-based maternity care for mums-to-be and new parents, including ante-natal appointments and baby clinics will continue in their usual format.  

Health Visiting and School Nursing services will deliver services both remotely through telephone contacts and home visits where assessed as essential.

GP practices will again offer video or telephone-based consultations to ensure the safety of patients and staff. Patients should continue to make appointments as normal if they have concerns about their health, but initial contact should be made with surgeries by phone rather than in person. 

Social distancing and the use of personal protective equipment will be in place in surgeries, where staff will make safe arrangements for patients to collect prescriptions and assist with getting medications to patients who cannot collect it themselves. 

Patients who require a face-to-face assessment for symptoms that could be caused by coronavirus may see a doctor in a dedicated assessment unit, rather than at their usual practice.  Units in the north, south, east and west and are being organised by surgeries in conjunction with the DHSC. 

Dental practices and opticians remain open. If individuals have an existing appointment, this will be honoured unless they are advised otherwise. 

Shielding advice is reinstated for all individuals deemed as being clinically extremely vulnerable who received a letter advising them to shield in the January circuit-break lockdown. A further letter will not be issued. 

People in this group should stay at home and try to maintain a two-metre distance from others in their household, especially if they display symptoms of the virus or have been told to self-isolate. 

This advice is irrespective of whether or not an individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19, and will be reviewed in due course.