Partners' news: Children’s hospital restarts elective surgeries this week
Wednesday 17th June 2020
Sheffield Children’s Hospital is restarting its elective surgeries and procedures this week, after a three month pause in response to COVID-19.
The hospital has continued to do emergency surgery throughout, but less urgent work had been put on hold. The bookings team has already started to confirm new bookings and the first surgeries will take place on Wednesday, June 17.
New processes are in place to protect children coming into surgery, including additional cleaning, the use of more protective equipment, social distancing – including in waiting rooms and bed bays – and the testing of every child two or three days before their admission.
The intention is to see a small number of patients initially, and gradually increase over the coming weeks. Patients that need care most urgently are being prioritised.
Medical Director Jeff Perring said: “Things will feel quite different for families, as lots of work has taken place to make sure that patients, families and our staff are kept safe.
“We will be starting to see our first elective patients this week, and will then be gradually increasing the number we see over the next few weeks.
“We’d like to thank all our families for working with us to manage these changes and for their patience as we put them in place. We would like to reassure each of them that we’re doing everything we can to make it a smooth, pleasant and safe experience.”
Sheffield Children’s has a range of resources available to help explain the new processes to children and their families. A new section of the Trust’s website includes videos explaining ways the hospital is keeping families safe and the new surgery processes, a comprehensive FAQ about surgery and materials to show what personal protective equipment (PPE) staff will be wearing. Children can even download and print their own cut out PPE dolls! This is in addition to all the usual information on the website to support families coming in for surgery, including Sheffield Children’s dedicated Little Journey app, which helps children prepare for their visit through interactive photos and videos and checklists. Everything can be found here - https://www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/patients-and-parents/theatre-admissions-unit/
To help keep patients safe, families will be asked to isolate for 14 days before their child’s surgery. This is to help patients avoid catching COVID-19, protecting other patients and also avoiding any impact on their own surgery and recovery. The Children’s Hospital Charity has created a special activity pack to help keep children entertained over those 14 days.
Patients will also be asked to come for a COVID-19 test around three days before the surgery takes place. This will take place at the Sheffield Children’s drive-through testing hub or a clinic. Families will be called to arrange a date for this and staff will explain what will happen and provide directions.