Face-to-face outpatient appointments will begin again on Monday (17 January) at Noble’s Hospital and Ramsey District Cottage Hospital following a temporary switch to virtual appointments as a result of the recent rise in Covid-19 cases on the Isle of Man.
In addition, some of the visiting restrictions at health and social care settings put in place in late December will be lifted on Monday; patients who are staying in hospital or in residential care settings will now be allowed visitors by prior booked appointment only.
On 31 December, outpatient appointments which were triaged as not being clinically urgent were either cancelled or switched to a virtual appointment, with visiting at hospitals and some social care settings temporarily suspended. This was due to the level of community spread of Covid-19 in the Isle of Man at the time, and the subsequent impact on health and social care staff, many of whom were off sick with Covid-19. This only exacerbated existing workforce challenges across the health and social care sector.
From Monday, patients should attend their outpatient appointment as normal unless they have been contacted to advise them otherwise. Anyone entering a health and social care setting should continue to take a Lateral Flow Test between 45 minutes to one hour prior to attending, and only attend if their test displays a negative result. In addition, a fresh fluid-resistant face mask must be worn. A supply of these will be available at the entrance to health and social care settings.
People who wish to visit a friend or relative in hospital or a residential care setting should contact the relevant ward or care home first, to arrange their visit in advance. Some care homes continue to operate their own visiting restrictions.
Teresa Cope, CEO of Manx Care, commented:
'We recognise that the restrictions imposed two weeks ago have been difficult for many of the people impacted by this, as well as their families and loved ones. However, we had to act quickly to put measures in place to protect the most vulnerable people in our care from the increasing community spread of Covid-19, as well as ensure that we could maintain safe staffing levels. We have reviewed this situation regularly, and restored our services and visiting policy as soon as we felt it was safe to do so. We are very grateful for the patience and support that our community has shown in this time.'
Manx Care’s Executive Director of Social Care, Sally Shaw, added:
'Manx Care is incredibly grateful to those individuals who stepped up to cover extra shifts, accepted overtime and supported their colleagues over the last fortnight. Many of our colleagues sacrificed their family time over the festive period to keep our essential services going, give patients and residents the care they needed and ultimately help to keep us all safe. This highlights what a resilient, tenacious and committed workforce we have. We are extremely thankful for, and proud of, everything they continue to do.'