NHSE&I Guidance: screening of patients & staff for cardiology services

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The BCS today shared a guidance document with members regarding the NHS England and NHS Improvement | NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) operating framework for urgent and planned services during COVID-19 which sets out some broad guidance on the screening of both patients and staff.

Signed by Prof Simon Ray, President of the BCS and Dr Andrew Archbold, VP Clinical Standards, the purpose of the document is to place the generic guidance into the context of cardiology services. It is not intended to be didactic but to provide a framework for the development of local arrangements.

NB: It is a live document and may change as more information becomes available and the population prevalence of COVID-19 alters. The document covers the following:

Patient Testing

Advising that for Emergency Admissions, all patients should be tested as soon as practical after admission. If the initial test is negative and the patient remains in hospital, a single re-test should be conducted after 5-7 days.It also outlines two purposes of patient screening and self-isolation prior to Elective Admission.

  • Firstly, to minimise as much as possible the likelihood of asymptomatic patients bringing COVID-19 into a green area of a hospital.
  • Secondly, to avoid an asymptomatic patient undergoing a procedure which could lead to major complications should the patient turn out subsequently to have been COVID-19 positive or acquire COVID-19 whilst in hospital.

It will be most effective if patients and those living with them self-isolate for 14 days prior to admission. Testing should be performed 48-72 hours before admission; symptom status questionnaire and temperature check should be performed on admission. NHSE&I recognise that this strategy will not be practical for all patients and for all procedures. With regards to outpatients and outpatient diagnostic attendances, the document advises that patients should be advised not to attend if symptomatic. Symptom status questionnaire and temperature check on attendance.

Staff Testing

Staff in patient areas should confirm the absence of symptoms and contact with symptomatic people outside the work environment on a regular basis.Temperature checking and staff antigen testing may be considered.

View/Download/Print the full document

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