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Emergency Department

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Health chiefs are reassuring seriously unwell people that the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) is still a safe option for medical care, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Medics fear some people may be nervous about attending ED leading to serious medical issues, like strokes and heart attacks, slipping through the net. This can seriously reduce recovery rates and even prove fatal.

The RBH has reconfigured its layout and is now operating a ‘hot ‘ and ‘cold’ ED system so people brought in with suspected coronavirus symptoms are taken through the hot ED route leaving cold ED to operate as usual and deal with other serious medical cases.

The hospital is also seeking to reassure parents with very poorly children that they must still consider taking them to ED for swift and safe treatment.  

Figures show the number of local people accessing ED last week was halved with 1,158 attending and 462 being admitted compared with 2,288 attendances and 687 admissions for the same week last year.

During that same one week period, there’s also been a steep drop in the number of children being seen in ED from 479 in 2019 to 183 last week.

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said today: “We’re keen to reassure people that our ‘cold’ ED is open for businesses and should be the first port of call for anyone who becomes very ill with things like stroke, heart or serious breathing problems.

“Please don’t worry about catching coronavirus or being a burden on our staff.  We are all still here for people who need our help. The same goes for parents and carers who are worried about a child who is very unwell and needs quick medical assessment,” he said. 

“We’ve changed the layout of the hospital so the areas treating coronavirus patients are completely separate from other public areas of the building and no one is being put at any undue risk,” he added.

The hospital is still advising anyone with coronavirus type symptoms of a new, continuous cough or temperature of 37.8 should follow guidelines and go to 111 online or, if they don’t have online access, to ring NHS 111 and self isolate for seven days.

If their symptoms worsen or don’t get any better then they should ring their GP who will advise them on the phone and may refer to one of our new primary care hubs for further assessment.

And people are reminded about the range of other health care facilities including local pharmacists and minor injuries units. There’s full details of all healthcare options at: www.nhs.uk

21 April 2020



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