The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) will drastically change the way it operates when it fully re-opens after the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is the word from Dr Clyde Cave, acting Director of Medical Services at the state-run hospital, who today announced that smaller clinic sizes, a pharmacy medication delivery system, limited visiting, spaced seating and the upgrading of the hospital’s appointment system, were among some of the changes which patients and visitors to the QEH could expect.
He said the hospital could ill afford to operate in the same manner pre-COVID 19.
“So as the country opens up we also have to try and resume services at the hospital, but from what we have learned it is going to be a new normal. And I guess the most important thing that we learned is that we can’t go back to how we were before. For at least the foreseeable future it is not going to work,” Dr Cave said.
“And maybe this is a gift in that some of the things that we know were sub-optimal before this gives us an opportunity to correct.”
He said large crowds at the QEH were now a thing of the past as appointments would be necessary in most instances.
“We have had an appointment schedule but that’s always been regarded as somewhat of a suggestion, not really an expectation that that’s when you would be seen. It’s now going to become very important because you can’t have large numbers in a waiting room.
“We’re going to have smaller clinics. We’re going to look at the clinic list and try to whittle them down, not to stop people from accessing care but to spread them out and the number of people coming to clinic will be requested to have one chaperone if that is needed,” Dr Cave explained.
Dr Cave said the current QEH Help Desk would also be expanded and would be manned by highly-trained doctors and nurses.
“Before coming to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) you would call the Help Desk and they would tell you if for your concern coming to the A&E is the appropriate place to come or if there is somewhere else that would better serve your needs,” he noted.
Additionally, he said the QEH would also employ community health workers who would visit patients outside of the hospital.
Dr Cave said selected patients would also be tested for COVID-19, including those undergoing urgent surgeries.
With the country moving to Phase 3 and the QEH looking to reopen its services, Dr Cave warned that health officials would now have to prepare for the “second wave”.
He said this meant the focus now had to shift to patients who were not COVID-19 positive.
“You have heard how we have been addressing and looking after patients in this pandemic who may have COVID-19 infections and I’m sure you’re all aware of the concept of the second wave and this is a very real thing for us to be thinking about now.
“Realistically the country has done really well up until now and the hospital also has done really well because we haven’t had to cope with the worst case scenarios of the numbers that were perhaps anticipated,” Dr Cave said.
“A second wave is not just as we open up the country to expect more infected patients like the first wave. The second wave refers to all those people without COVID-19 whose care may have been impacted by what we have had to do with our first response to COVID-19.”
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