OUH Open to Care For Those Who Need It During COVID-19

Date: 17 November 2020


As we move through a second national lockdown, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) is keen to encourage people in the county to attend their booked outpatient appointments, planned operations, scans, and to seek help if they need medical assistance.

Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust, said: "We want to remind people that health care is still very much available to them during COVID-19.  Unlike during the first lockdown, planned surgery is still going ahead this time around.

"It’s incredibly important for you to attend your booked appointments.  I assure you that we have very robust measures in place to keep you safe from COVID-19.  It is safe for you to come and see us – if we’ve asked you to come in to our hospitals, there will be a good reason for it, so please do keep your appointments. 

"Patient and staff safety, now more than ever, is our number one priority."

Safety measures at our Trust include safe social distancing, face masks for staff, face coverings for visitors, hand gel dispensers, and Perspex screens at our reception desks.

We have been working hard to make sure we are fully prepared and can keep services running during current and any future disruptions as a result of COVID-19.  We have been working with COVID-19 for the past eight months, and we are applying all of our knowledge and experience to make sure our patients and their families can continue to access the care they need safely.

We have also recently spoken about the measures in place to keep maternity patients and cancer patients safe when under our care. 

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, please do not come into hospital.  Instead, people with symptoms should self-isolate and book a test at a local designated testing centre, or order a home testing kit by calling 119 or by visiting the NHS COVID-19 testing website.

If you are returning to the UK from another country, please check Government guidance to see if you need to self-isolate when you return.

Virtual appointments

We have also been offering virtual and telephone appointments for many of our outpatient clinics, meaning patients can receive support and care remotely from their own homes.  

Please check your appointment letter to see if your appointment is virtual, by telephone, or in person before attending to save an unnecessary journey. 

The majority of our virtual appointments are carried out on the phone, with other methods including video calls on mobiles and tablet devices using a programme called Attend Anywhere, which is very straightforward to use.  There have been over 23,000 video consultations since 13 March 2020.

If you have any questions about visiting during outpatient appointments, please contact the department you are attending for your appointment.

Visitors in our hospitals during the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, we have restricted the number of visitors to our hospitals.  Since June 2020, inpatients have been able to have a very limited number of visitors through a controlled booking system.

Outpatients are required to attend appointments alone, unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as a patient requiring a carer or parent, having learning difficulties, experiencing mental health difficulties, or being unable to communicate.  These restrictions also apply to our Emergency Departments and Emergency Assessment Units.

Where to go if you need help

If you are worried about your health, or if your condition worsens while you are waiting for treatment, please call your GP or the appropriate hospital team for advice as soon as possible. 

If you need urgent medical advice but it’s not a life-threatening emergency, please contact NHS 111 before attending your local Emergency Department.

You will be assessed and, if appropriate, booked into either the John Radcliffe or Horton General Hospital Emergency Department for treatment.

However, if it would be more appropriate to receive clinical advice elsewhere, they can point you in the right direction to other healthcare facilities, meaning you will receive the right treatment in the right place. 

If you or someone you know is in a medical emergency, you should call 999.

  • Summary:

    Oxford Hospitals remind people that health care is still available during COVID-19.

  • Transformation:
  • Date:
    17 November 2020