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'Do not enter hospital if unwell' states NHS

By David G Scott

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A WOMAN contacted the paper to talk about the "confusion" she witnessed at Caithness General Hospital in Wick on Saturday as the staff responded to new coronavirus guidelines.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, had been told to come and pick up a relative with chronic health problems and take them home despite the fact the person was "still seriously ill".

"It felt like they [CGH staff] hadn't got a clue what was going on," she said.

"There was a woman who had been discharged without her meds and the nurse came in [to the ward] and said 'where is she?' and another said she'd gone.

"The nurse said that she'd forgotten to take her tablets with her."

Caithness General Hospital in Wick.
Caithness General Hospital in Wick.

She said the atmosphere within the hospital "didn't feel as controlled as it normally is" and felt like a "very unusual situation" was happening.

The woman had been phoned on Saturday at 10am to pick up the relative and said she knew of another "chronically ill patient" who was discharged around the same time.

"It seemed like there was a mass discharge of patients from the place with some people going out through the back of the hospital."

She said that a special "washing basin" had been set up in the foyer area as well.

Restrictions on visitors posted on the door of Caithness General Hospital.
Restrictions on visitors posted on the door of Caithness General Hospital.

Notices are posted on the doors of the hospital and the Riverview practice in Wick urging people not to enter if they have a cough, fever or shortness of breath.

The media team based at Inverness said: "NHS Highland has implemented restricted visiting across Highland to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) to patients and staff."

An announcement by Katherine Sutton of NHS Highland's acute services stated: "We are working hard to be sensitive to the needs of our patients and families while putting in measures to protect everyone receiving or giving care in hospital, and in our communities.

"The restricted visiting is an initial step in response to the developing situation."

Coronavirus warning information on the door of Riverview practice in Wick.Pictures: DGS
Coronavirus warning information on the door of Riverview practice in Wick.Pictures: DGS

She went on to say that the measures would be "reviewed as appropriate in line with national guidance and local expert advice as the situation changes".

A NHS Highland spokesperson stated that the restrictive measures "will be reviewed weekly".

"If your visit is essential please contact the ward who will support you with arrangements. We are grateful to the public for your co-operation and understanding," the spokesperson said.

"If you are visiting the hospital please ensure that you wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before you go onto the ward/department and as you leave the hospital."

"Please do not enter the hospital if you are unwell."

The UK/Scottish Government announced on Monday that anyone developing symptoms consistent with Covid-19 should stay at home for seven days and that in addition "it is now recommended that anyone living in the same household as a symptomatic person should self-isolate for 14 days".

"Further, people are advised to take social distancing measures to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19. In particular, this is strongly advised for people aged 70 or over, people with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women," stated the government bulletin.

The NHS was contacted with regard to specific measures taking place at Caithness General Hospital but had not replied at the time of going to press.

NHS information and updates can be found at this link: www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

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