University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is making a temporary change to the way it provides community services in the south Lakes area.
This change is to protect the safety of patients and staff using the site.
The Trust operates community beds on the Langdale Ward on Level Four of Westmorland General Hospital (WGH) and the Trust’s plans to reinstate elective (planned) services following the coronavirus outbreak mean that the WGH site will be used for routine day surgery for patients across the Morecambe Bay area.
This will require those patients to be swabbed and then self-isolate for two weeks prior to their surgery to ensure that they remain coronavirus-free – and the Trust therefore needs to maintain the site being a COVID-19 secure hospital – free from coronavirus, to ensure the safety of these patients is not compromised.
As medical patients who are usually those admitted to the Langdale wards will not have been self-isolating – the Trust plans to change the way it provides community services for those patients to protect other patients and staff at the hospital.
The Trust is therefore proposing to temporarily close the beds on the Langdale ward from the beginning of August, and use staff who provide those services in a different way – to support patients in the community to remain safely at home. The move will be reviewed every three months.
Full quality and equality impact assessments have been carried out and the Rapid Response and Rehabilitation services are being strengthened to support people being cared for in their own homes.
Dee Houghton, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is being carried out for safety reasons. Our plans to reinstate services following the coronavirus outbreak include treating more day case surgical patients on our Westmorland General Hospital site. In order for us to be able to do this, we need to make the site as COVID-secure as possible and minimise the risk of people with coronavirus being on the site.
“This therefore involves temporarily closing the Langdale wards to ensure that community patients being admitted do not unwittingly bring coronavirus into the hospital.
We are doing this to ensure that we can treat as many people who need procedures and operations as quickly as possible after they have had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and our response to that, and to do so in a safe way.
“We are strengthening our community teams to ensure that patients across the south Lakes area who would otherwise have been admitted to the Langdale ward can be treated in their own homes and receive the very best care – while able to continue living at home.”