Coronavirus pandemic: Lister Hospital will no longer treat minor illnesses or injuries

PUBLISHED: 10:11 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 07:22 30 March 2020

Lister Hospital is asking patients with minor injuries and illnesses not to come in. Picture: DANNY LOO

Lister Hospital is asking patients with minor injuries and illnesses not to come in. Picture: DANNY LOO

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Lister Hospital in Stevenage will no longer treat patients with minor injuries or illnesses – as East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust prepares itself for an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

Patients with minor injuries or illnesses should use the NHS111 service before going to the New QEII Urgent Care Centre, and they will no longer be able to attend Lister Hospital. Picture: East and North Herts NHS TrustPatients with minor injuries or illnesses should use the NHS111 service before going to the New QEII Urgent Care Centre, and they will no longer be able to attend Lister Hospital. Picture: East and North Herts NHS Trust

The East and North Herts NHS Trust is planning ahead so the Lister’s Emergency Department has extra capacity to deal with the more serious cases.

Patients with minor injuries or illnesses are asked to use the NHS111 online service to determine whether they need hospital treatment and, if so, will be directed to the Urgent Care Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital.

Extra staff are already in place at the New QEII in Howlands to meet demand.

Nick Carver, chief executive of the trust, said: “We usually treat 40 to 50 patients a day with minor injuries at Lister Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“With an anticipated increase in coronavirus cases, we are planning ahead to ensure Lister’s Emergency Department has extra capacity to deal with the more serious cases that come through our doors.

“By moving treatment for minor injuries to the New QEII Hospital, where we have extra staff to meet demand, this will create the capacity we will need in the future.

“This move also gives greater protection to these patients, ensuring they receive the medical attention they require but without the need to visit an acute setting where our more seriously ill patients are being treated.

“We appreciate this may be problematic for some of our most vulnerable patients, so we are working through scenario planning and risk assessments to ensure they are protected.”

Before attending the New QEII, patients with minor injuries or illnesses are asked to visit the website – 111.nhs.uk – for assessment.

Examples of minor injuries and illnesses include:

· Muscle and joint injuries e.g. strains, sprains, soft tissue injury and back pain (new onset, not chronic)

· Minor wound infections and cellulitis

· Suspected simple bone fractures

· Bites and stings

You may also want to watch:

· Simple wounds and lacerations

· Superficial burns and scalds

· Removal of foreign bodies from the ears or nose (e.g. buried studs, rings)

· Minor eye injuries

· Minor head injuries with no loss of consciousness

· Superficial wound closure

· Removal of splinters

· Ear and throat infections

· Skin infections and rashes

· Abdominal pain

· Vomiting and diarrhoea

· Emergency (hormonal) contraception.

Anyone displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – a high temperature (you feel hot to touch on your chest or back) or a new, continuous cough (coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours) – will not be seen at the New QEII, so stay at home and use the NHS111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

The services for minor injuries and illnesses at the New QEII will be available 24 hours a day, with one exception – X-rays will not be available after 11pm, so patients may be asked to attend the following morning.

Children can be treated for minor injuries and illnesses around the clock, but those under the age of one with a minor injury will continue to be treated at the Lister.

No patient will have to pay for parking twice, so anyone who is redirected to the New QEII from the Lister will receive a parking slip.


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