Private healthcare during a pandemic

Private healthcare during a pandemic
Operating Theatre (stock image)

With the NHS under tremendous strain from the pandemic, obtaining healthcare isn’t as easy as it used to be. Unfortunately, a lot of NHS services have been postponed, which has meant that, in many cases, patients have been unable to get the healthcare they need… which can lead to worry and anxiety.

Private hospitals have been supporting the NHS and Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells are no exception. They have continued to support the NHS throughout the pandemic and continue to do so in various areas. However, Nuffield have also been able to re-introduce private procedures.  With safety measures in place, living with Covid-19 is quickly becoming the new normal at their hospital.

Virtual consultations using several different platforms are becoming increasingly popular. Initial consultations can now be performed using video conferencing technology. However, examining patients in order to confirm the diagnosis and ascertain if they do in fact require surgical intervention often requires a face to face consultation. The clinic areas have been reconfigured to ensure that waiting rooms are not overcrowded and that patients are able to maintain social distancing whilst waiting. Patients are also being encouraged to wait in their cars and arrive as close to their appointment time as possible.

Surgery is only performed after an understanding of the risks involved and the precautions required to overcome these. Some patients who are deemed ‘ high risk’ due to medical co-morbidities may well have their elective surgery delayed for a few months until deemed safe to proceed.

‘Green pathways’ have been formed to allow safe delivery of surgery. The measures put in place to facilitate this include the following:

  • High risk patients (from risk stratification) have to self-isolate or shield for up to 14 days prior to surgery
  • Test for COVID-19, 72hours prior to elective surgery and only proceed if negative.
  • Both patients and household members are screened for symptoms.
  • Social distancing measures to reduce contact at reception, waiting rooms and other communal facilities.
  • No visitors during inpatient stays.

Regulations are constantly being updated and local data is used to guide these protocols. During the current lockdown, for example, some surgeries have been delayed.

For further information regarding the services provided at Nuffield Health Tunbridge Wells please visit:

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