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People in England will have to self-isolate for two weeks before going to hospital for routine ops

Patients will have to self-isolate for a fortnight before going to hospital under new NHS rules

  • Patients will have to shut themselves away from family or isolate as a household
  •  A COVID-19 test also be mandatory 72 hours before patients arrive at hospital
  • Rule will apply to everyone regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

People going into hospital for planned surgery in England will have to isolate for two weeks before they arrive, under new NHS rules.

Patients will either have to shut themselves in a room to keep away from their own family for a fortnight, or the entire household will need to isolate from the outside world together.

A COVID-19 test will also be mandatory 72 hours before patients arrive, to prove they are free of the viral disease before going for procedures such as hip replacements or cataracts.

The rule will apply to everyone regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms, and will affect about 700,000 patients a month.

The plan was unveiled by NHS England as part of new guidance to get elective care back up and running.

People going into hospital for planned surgery in England will have to isolate for two weeks before they arrive, under new NHS rules.

Just a fifth of routine operations have been going ahead during the coronavirus crisis, causing a huge backlog on waiting lists.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director, said: ‘Now that we are confident that we have passed the first peak of coronavirus, it is important that we bring back those services where we can, but only where that can be done safely. The virus is still circulating and we don’t want to put our patients, the public or our staff at greater risk.’ 

April was the quietest EVER month in A&E as attendances HALVED in two months with 900,000 seeking urgent medical help, official figures show

April was the quietest month ever for A&E departments across England, NHS statistics have revealed.

Only 916,581 emergency department visits were recorded in the month that Britain’s coronavirus crisis peaked – the first time on record the number has dipped below one million.

The number of times people sought emergency help fell by more than half in just two months as COVID-19 gripped the nation.

People have been avoiding hospitals out of fear of adding extra pressure to the NHS or catching the virus while they’re in the hospital, doctors say.

Medics warn the massive change in behaviour is a ‘ticking time bomb’ which may result in more people ending up seriously ill or dying in the near future because they avoided getting medical help when they needed it.

There are also concerns that people with cancer will be delayed casualties of the crisis, with urgent referrals for treatment for the disease down eight per cent on last year.

NHS England, which published the figures, said the falls were ‘likely to be a result of the COVID-19 response’ – an indication that people have been staying away from A&E departments because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of people being admitted to hospital beds through A&E also fell sharply last month, down 39 per cent from 535,226 in April 2019 to 326,581 in April 2020.

This is the lowest number reported for any calendar month since current records began.

The new guidance also says people attending A&E will have to practise social distancing and stay 2 metres away from others.   

It comes after experts estimated more than eight million people will be stuck on NHS surgery waiting lists by autumn because of treatment delays caused by the crisis.

Last August there were a record 4.41million patients in England on waiting lists for routine operations, a rise of 250,000 from the same month a year earlier.

But that number is expected to more than double because of a backlog triggered by the outbreak, according to the chief executive of the Nuffield Trust think-tank. 

When officials realised the coronavirus was spreading out of control in the UK they urged hospitals to cancel as many operations as they could and turf out patients on their wards to make way for a surge in COVID-19 patients.

The move was successful and hospitals were not overwhelmed by the effects of the virus but hundreds of thousands of patients have had treatment delayed as a result. 

Nigel Edwards, the Nuffield Trust CEO, said hospitals have only been able to carry out around ’15 to 20 per cent’ of elective procedures, meaning up to 1.3million patients are missing out every month.

Even after the NHS gets back up and running after the crisis, social distancing measures, a lack of PPE and new cleaning regimes will slow down the health service further, Mr Edwards said.

It makes it ‘very likely we will have doubled the waiting list to over eight million by the late autumn’, with one in eight people waiting for treatment.  

Speaking at a virtual House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee meeting, Mr Edwards said: ‘Between 1.5 and 1.7million people a month start a new care pathway, or at least they did before March.

‘We can already see in the March data, the number of patients starting new pathways or being referred has fallen very significantly.

‘Of course that’s going to be more the case in April and May. Various hospitals I’ve been speaking to say they’ve been able to do 15, maybe 20 per cent of their elective work.

‘So the maths of that is absolutely brutal. It means between 1.2 and 1.3million people each month, who you’d expect to be starting a pathway, who have not been referred yet… it seems very likely we will have doubled the waiting list to over eight million by the late autumn.’