Coronavirus: NHS orders ‘assessment pods’ in hospitals
Health / Thu 6th Feb 2020 am29 07:49am
EVERY hospital in England is being asked to create “priority assessment pods” for patients with suspected coronavirus, the NHS has said.
Patients who are concerned they may have the virus are still advised to isolate themselves and call 111 reports the BBC.
But the contingency measure is intended to prevent any patients who do arrive at hospital from mixing with vulnerable patients.
The secure areas are expected to be introduced by Friday.
In China, 490 people have died and 24,300 people have been confirmed to have contracted the new virus. It has now spread to 25 nations, with two cases in the UK.
The new measure means that A&E departments will be able to direct people who think they have symptoms of the coronavirus to a pod away from other patients, where they can call specialist NHS 111 teams on a dedicated phone.
An NHS spokeswoman said: “Anyone with a cough, fever, or shortness of breath who attends hospital and has recently returned from China will be advised to follow signs to NHS 111 pods and call for advice, so they stay isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E.”
BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle said the NHS is aware people may not always follow the advice to self-isolate if the virus starts to spread across England.
The pods are meant to protect others using the hospitals – who may have vulnerable immune systems.
“The problem hospitals face is where to create these pods. There is not lots of spare space on many sites to house coronavirus patients and building separate facilities may not be practical,” he said.