Concerns patients may have contracted Covid-19 while in hospital
News | Gareth Axenderrie | Published: 16:36, Friday April 24th, 2020.
Last updated: 17:02, Friday April 24th, 2020
Concerns have risen that some patients may have contracted Covid-19 while receiving treatment in Welsh hospitals.
Several families from Caerphilly suspect relatives may have contracted the virus while receiving treatment in the Royal Gwent Hospital, despite being admitted for unrelated reasons.
Both NHS Wales and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) told Caerphilly Observer that they are unable to say whether or not patients have been contracting the virus while in hospital.
Speaking at the Welsh Government’s daily press briefing on Thursday, April 23, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, said it is very difficult to tell whether individuals have contracted the virus in community transitions or in the hospital setting.
It is understood that up until the week beginning Monday, April 13, UK-wide health guidance did not require hospital staff to wear PPE when in contact with patients not suspected of having Covid-19.
ABUHB confirmed however that this guidance has since changed, and staff are now required to wear full PPE when in contact with all patients.
The late change in guidance has given rise to concerns that asymptomatic members of NHS staff may have been transmitting Covid-19 to patients within hospitals, as they were not wearing PPE.
Hefin David, AM for Caerphilly, said: “I have concerns that the guidance to staff to only wear PPE with patients with, or suspected to have, Covid-19 should have been reviewed across the United Kingdom sooner than it was.
“It is reassuring for the future that this guidance has now changed, and all ABUHB staff will be wearing PPE with all patients regardless of whether or not they are suspected of having Covid-19. This will ensure that asymptomatic staff are not transferring the virus within hospitals.
“My weekly discussions with the health board are incredibly helpful and it is clear that they have strong infection control in place are doing all they can to minimise Covid-19 infection.”
Anxiety about transmission in hospitals has also given rise to concerns that people are avoiding using NHS services.
Both NHS Wales and Age Cymru have urged people to continue to seek medical advice and support if necessary.
Dr Andrew Goodall said: “The NHS is open to support patients who need to access our services. We are seeing encouraging signs of stabilisation of transmission rates and the prevalence of Covid-19 in the hospital environment.
“It’s really important that people can access care and treatment and they should know we are ready to support them with that and we are taking all the necessary precautions to keep them safe.”
Victoria Lloyd, Chief Executive of Age Cymru, said: “We would urge any older person who needs medical treatment to contact their GP or local hospital for advice as soon as possible.
“Allowing a medical condition to remain untreated can lead to a deterioration that might require more intensive and complicated treatment further down the line.
“GP surgeries, hospitals and other medical facilities are doing everything they can to make their premises as safe as possible for both staff and patients. They are still very much open for business.”
Latest information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Most cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) seem to be mild.
Coronavirus is a viral disease that can cause coughing, fever and difficulty breathing. It can be more severe in older people, those with weakened immune systems and some long-term conditions like diabetes or cancer.