Attending Hospital During Covid-19 Restrictions

February 2022
Elective services are now running fairly normally at
Queen Margaret Hospital. We continue to practise social distancing within the day surgery unit. Where possible, we are working to avoid unnecessary appointments without compromising the way our patients are able to access our service.

Is there a risk of catching Covid-19 while in hospital?
Yes, there is a risk involved with coming to the hospital for an outpatient appointment or an operation. We do not know exactly what this risk is, but we feel that it is safe enough to allow normal clinics to run, with mask and social distancing measures in place. If you feel that you are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 on account of any medical condition you may have or drugs that you are taking, then please check with us or your GP before attending.

If you are awaiting an out-patient appointment:
Use common sense when attending the hospital. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, then clearly you should isolate at home rather than attend. It your problem is urgent, then contact the hand service secretaries and let us know.
All patients are requested to wear a mask where appropriate and all staff will observe the current regulations on PPE.

If you are on the waiting list for surgery:
All patients awaiting routine surgery have been assigned a priority in order to rationalise how we send for patients. This is not done according to how long someone has been waiting, but on clinical priority. A rough guide follows:

  • Category 1 – Surgery required within 1-3 days
  • Category 2 – Surgery required within 1 month
  • Category 3 – Surgery required within 3 months
  • Category 4 – Surgery required, but can wait for more than 3 months

In elective hand surgery, most patients fall into category 3 or 4, with nerve compression (carpal tunnel decompression or cubital tunnel decompression) and trigger finger classed as category 3, and most Dupuytren’s surgery and osteoarthritis surgery classed as 4.

Current hospital policy regarding admission:
The guidelines from the hospital management regarding admission change according to local COVID case numbers. At present, the recommendation is that you will be asked to take a Covid-19 test three days prior to admission. Following this test we are asking patients to avoid contact with others until the time of surgery.

Policy is changing on a week by week basis, and although we will try and keep up to date with this, it is likely that the rules will change regularly. This always causes a degree of stress for both patients and for the secretaries, who are on the front line of communicating the policy.

Please be patient with us if you feel that the advice given seems to be shifting all the time – it is very frustrating for everyone, but the aim is to try and work through the backlog of cases that has been generated over the last few months.

© Fife Hand Service 2021

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