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Day surgery suspended and staffing upped as Balfour prepares for coronavirus

Day surgery services are to be temporarily suspended and staffing levels are to be ramped up as NHS Orkney prepares for a potential Coronavirus outbreak in the county.

The health authority has given further details, this afternoon, Saturday, about some of the changes that are being made locally in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus in Scotland.

Though the number of confirmed positive tests for the virus in the county is still zero, NHS Orkney has officially confirmed that testing will not be offered routinely to individuals staying at home.

A spokeswoman from NHS Orkney said: “Patients who require overnight admission to hospital should still be tested if they present with either clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia; or acute respiratory distress syndrome or influenza like illness.”

She added that the level of preparedness is also being scaled up within the Balfour.

She explained: “Work has commenced within the inpatient areas, the day surgery area and out patients to create interim facilities that will offer us the space to care for those patients who may require hospitalisation and more advanced level of care.

“These changes will necessitate the realignment and repositioning of several services including cancer services, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and dietetics.

“To facilitate the work I have made the decision, based on clinical advice, to temporarily suspend day surgery services for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

”This will allow some building and engineering work to take place in order that we can extend the range of our services and prepare our staff.

“Urgent and emergency services are unaffected by these changes. We are also increasing our staffing numbers across all disciplines.

”NHS Orkney, Orkney Islands Council and the Integration Joint Board (IJB) are working very closely to ensure that our planning arrangements are comprehensive and to the very highest standard.

”As ever, the response and action of the entire workforce has been overwhelming and the people of Orkney should take a great deal of assurance and pride from that fact.”

NHS Orkney has also echoed national advice stating that folk should stay at home and self-isolate for seven days if they display symptoms of the virus.

The spokeswoman said: “All people with a new continuous cough and/or high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher), regardless of their travel history or contact with confirmed cases, should stay at home for seven days, do not come into the hospital and be aware you will not be tested.

”If people are concerned about more serious symptoms or if their symptoms worsen, they are advised to contact their GP in hours, or out of hours NHS24 on 111.

”Again we ask that people stay home unless the GP or out of hours service suggests otherwise.”