Senior NHS doctors and nurse leaders responsible for patient safety and infection prevention across four local hospitals and community healthcare services in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale are asking members of the public to continue to follow the ‘hands, face, space’ rules after July 19, in a move to continue to keep staff and patients safe and secure.
The move follows the announcement made by England’s Chief Nurse, Ruth May, on Thursday (15 July) that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.
Libby McManus, Chief Nursing Officer at Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (pictured) - which runs Fairfield Hospital in Bury, Rochdale Infirmary, The Royal Oldham Hospital and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust – has lent her support to the announcement, explaining why staff, patients and those attending hospital and community settings in these areas will still be asked to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and sanitise their hands wherever possible.
“Staff and patient safety and quality of care remains our top priority. Everyone should feel both safe & cared for in our hospitals and community settings. As restrictions lift across the country from next Monday, we will continue to ask people to follow our Covid bio-safety rules in our hospitals and those receiving support in the community. This will help continue to protect our patients and staff, continue to safeguard those who are most vulnerable, and to support our services enabling them to run as effectively and safely as possible as we aim to embark on a period of restoration and recovery. For more information and guidance on attending our hospitals please visit our website at www.northerncarealliance.nhs.uk.”
Libby’s plea comes as the country prepares for the removal of Covid19-related restrictions from next Monday, July 19 ,and reiterates the ongoing need for people planning a visit to a hospital or local health setting to comply with the NCA’s IPC and biosecurity measures.
Since the implementation of the rules and as the pandemic has progressed, the NCA Group has seen a reduction in the rate and transmission of not only Covid19, but has also recorded fewer cases of other viruses including flu, norovirus and C-difficile, and this has been partially attributed to the use of masks, social distancing and increased levels of cleanliness and sanitisation.
Dr Chris Brookes, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Executive for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (pictured) echoed the Libby’s appeal for continued support from the public, whilst thanking them for their efforts and consideration over the last year and a half.
He added: “I would like to thank our local communities personally for their commitment and contribution in following our IPC rules during the pandemic. Your support has meant that we have been able to keep our essential services running, keep control of the virus, and keep more of our patients and staff safe from harm, and we are grateful for your efforts.
“We’ve learned a great deal about infection prevention and control during this period and we know that the combination of wearing a mask, keeping socially distanced where possible, putting good ventilation practice in place, ensuring good ward and waiting area hygiene measures are in place, reducing crowding and implementing excellent hand hygiene standards, combined with regular staff lateral flow testing, means that we have kept more of our patients and staff safe from harm.
“This evidence means that we will continue to ask the public to help us to help them keep everyone safe, by maintaining this focus on our IPC guidance, enabling us to save and improve more lives as we move towards recovery. The Covid pandemic and the risk to our patients and staff is not over yet.”
The infection control team at the NCA Group have also been recognised for their exemplary work during the pandemic, receiving a finalist shortlisting for a prestigious HSJ Patient Safety Award. Their inclusion in the COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Award finalists category follows the successful implementation of pioneering safety measures across the organisation’s emergency departments, which were then later adopted nationally, during the second peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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