Along with the rest of the NHS, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust has been reassessing our normal practices in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure we prioritise patient and staff safety. We have created additional wards to manage additional patients, we have stopped some services temporarily, and we are carrying out many others in new ways. Our primary aim is to protect patients and staff from the virus.
National social distancing guidance and new, more stringent requirements for infection control requires us to ensure that no patients and staff should catch the virus within our services. We are carrying out an ongoing review to ensure we meet this requirement across all of our sites.
As part of this work, we have temporarily suspended the admission of patients to Feilding Palmer Hospital, Lutterworth. This temporary measure has been discussed and agreed with our commissioners. The small Victorian hospital does not enable safe social distancing to be maintained on the ward to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 infection. We have additional in-patient beds in all our other community hospitals that continue to be used as needed, including nearby Market Harborough and Hinckley.
The hospital opened in 1899. Its structure and layout means that safe social distancing on the ward cannot be maintained.
- There is less than two metres’ distance between eight of the ten beds;
- The main corridor is less than two metres wide, making it impossible for staff or patients to pass each other safely;
- There are no isolation facilities, which means if one patient developed symptoms of Covid-19, all would be forced to stay and isolate for 14 days;
- Only one member of staff at a time can use the main office to ensure social distancing. This reduces areas for staff breaks, which are important to keep staff hydrated all day when they are in PPE;
- We have had to suspend patient access to the only significant space within the hospital to reduce the risk of cross–contamination. This was a multi-function dining room/gym/day room, and is now the only place staff can receive clinical handover between shifts and undertake multi-disciplinary team meetings. This has a serious impact on the patients’ experience while they are with us.
This temporary measure will also allow outpatient services run the by Alliance such as cardiology, general surgery and gynaecology to be resumed at Feilding Palmer hospital in appropriate socially distanced safety, in line with national guidance to resume routine NHS services.
We will continue to review the situation in response to changes in the national guidance.