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Urgent appeal from HSC to protect hospital capacity

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Monday 25 January 2021

With increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Guernsey, HSC is calling for a community-wide effort to keep all but essential cases out of hospital.

The PEH is already experiencing the typical winter pressure of high admissions and availability of bed space due to the usual seasonal illnesses. But HSC recognises that many admissions can be avoided and duration of stays reduced.

HSC Medical Director, Dr Peter Rabey said:

'The hospital is here if you need us. But we must make sure we keep our limited acute capacity for where it is needed the most. We need to work as a community to protect our PEH.'

He said hospital stays can be minimised by urging people to seek medical attention promptly via their GPs as well as encouraging patients currently in the hospital to feel confident about leaving hospital as soon as they are clinically advised to do so.

Director of Hospital and Community Services, Dermot Mullin added:

'In line with the Bailiwick's "Stay at home" stance, our clear message is that every day in hospital is a precious day away from home, so we really want to embed a home-first mind set.'

All GP practices are currently open and should be the first port of call wherever possible.

Dr Rabey added:

'If you are concerned about any ailments don't put them off, adopt a nip-it-in the-bud mentality. Issues that are not promptly dealt with could end up unnecessarily needing hospital treatment.'

Hospital admissions can also be reduced by a common sense approach to avoiding risks. Everyone should make every effort to stay safe at home and avoid any unnecessary accidents.

Mr Mullin said:

'No dangerous DIY, no reckless recreation. No one wants to end up in hospital if they don't have to.'

HSC acknowledges that some lengthy stays in hospital are unavoidable due to the level of required care being unable to be met elsewhere. But it also recognises that many patients could be discharged back home or moved into appropriate care a lot sooner. HSC is working closely with care homes and residential homes to ensure safe transfers from hospital into these facilities can still take place at this time.

Mr Mullin added:

'If you are told it is safe for you to be discharged then we are asking you and your family to make every effort to get you home.'

'Prolonged stays in hospital can be unnecessarily detrimental to your health due to sleep deprivation, increased risk of falls or infection among many other things. So it's not just about protecting bed space, it really is about ensuring you are in the best place. We would never discharge someone if it wasn't safe to do so.'

The PEH is currently closed to all visitors and all elective surgeries that had been scheduled for this week have been postponed. Any emergency surgery will continue as required.

Islanders that have to attend the Emergency Department or other areas of the hospital will be asked to social distance and staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

PPE stocks are good, with sufficient supplies for enhanced use in both health and social care facilities and the private care home sector.

Community care services will continue to provide essential nursing and social care at home. Teams will be in contact if scheduled visits are being changed. Calls are being prioritised for those most vulnerable in the community. If anyone in a household that is due a visit has symptoms, is awaiting a test or has been contact traced, please contact the Community team so that we can risk assess and plan any critical care at home.

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