THE ROYAL Berkshire Hospital has announced its action plan as it continues to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospitals chief executive Steve McManus has spoken out about plans to up the intesive care capacity, while reducing the number of people coming to hospital.

It is hoped the news will help reassure residents and patients that everything possible is being done to make sure they are kept safe and well during the current Covid-19 outbreak.

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There are four main strands to the plan include:

  • Reducing the number of people – patients, visitors and staff – on hospital sites
  • Increasing and enhancing the RBH’s capacity to treat patients
  • Reducing demand so the focus is on the patients most in need of help
  • Looking after hard working staff and making sure they have the equipment and facilities they need

Reading Chronicle:

The action plan comes as the chief executive told the BBC that the hospital is currently treating 22 patients with confirmed cases of coronavirus, and another 46 patients are currently awaiting their results.

He also said: "Since the end of February we have tested around 422 patients, both adults and children, for coronavirus."

The Trust said in a statement today measures have already been put, with many more people being offered virtual outpatient clinic appointments over the phone or online, and visitors have been restricted to one per patient per day.

The hospital layout has also been revised to create separate zones to keep all potential coroanvirus patients separate from others being treated at the hospital.

Intensive care capacity has increased from 14 to 34 beds. There are also plans to increase beds to 56 as demand is expected to increase.

Elective surgery has also been suspended to free up time for more staff to be retrained in other more urgent areas of work, and some services are being deferred to other private hospital settings.

Children under the age of 12 will no longer be able to go to the RBH as visitors.

An ‘Ask A&E’ online helpline service is also being explored.

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Trust chief executive, Steve McManus, said: "Whilst we're all in very new territory with this virus, we have a huge amount of tried and tested experience of planning for and dealing with major outbreaks like this.

"There are national and regional systems in place to support us and this, coupled with the work we're doing at the Trust, is all aimed at keeping everyone safe and making sure we can sustain this level of care for the period of this outbreak.

"We all know now that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s crucial we plan and operate in a careful, measured way over the next few weeks and months so our resources, both staff, equipment and facilities, are able to continue providing exceptional standards of care.

“We have amazing staff with many, many years of expertise, experience and knowledge behind them and I want people to know they are in safe hands.

“This incredible wealth of healthcare expertise is being enhanced by the really outstanding support from our local communities and partners and we can’t thank them enough for all their on-going support."

The need for action

He added that, although a lot is being asked of people, staff are also facing day-to-day issues, and emphasised the need to take drastic action.

He said: "If we are to successfully deal with this virus, stop its spread, treat those affected and free up the hospital’s resources to do so, then we have to take these sort of serious steps now.

"So my message to them is please think again just how much they really do need to make that visit.

"Can they keep in touch with their loved one over the phone for now?

"By choosing not to come into the building they are doing a huge amount to help our staff."