COVID-19 Next phase of NHS Tayside response increases

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Update from NHS Tayside on 8 April 2020 –

NHS Tayside is moving into the next phase of its COVID-19 response by increasing critical care and intensive care capacity at its specialist COVID-19 acute facility at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

Clinical and support teams have worked together over the past few weeks to set up a dedicated COVID-19 ‘hospital within a hospital’ at Ninewells ensuring that patients with coronavirus remain separate from other patients. All patients who are suspected to have, or who have tested positive for the disease are currently being treated at the unit which is the designated COVID-19 response site for Tayside.

The COVID-19 Hospital has an assessment unit, ward areas, a High Dependency Unit and an Intensive Care Unit. The latest phase of NHS Tayside’s response will see critical care capacity expanded as part of the organisation’s planned response to mobilise additional resources to meet the increase in patient demand.

This includes the transfer of intensive care beds, ventilator equipment and specialist staff from Perth Royal Infirmary to Ninewells COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit which has been established in the re-purposed and redesigned Theatre Admission Suite.

Dr Stephen Cole, NHS Tayside Consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, said:

“Our plans for responding to COVID-19 are phased as the public might expect. This means all our teams are prepared to mobilise in a systematic way and we can make timely decisions to transition to new phases of our response when clinical teams think it most appropriate.

“We are now moving to the next phase of our COVID-19 response which will increase our intensive care capacity. This will ensure we can optimise the use of ventilators and consolidate the majority of our specialist critical care workforce, including anaesthetists, medical and nursing staff, as part of the COVID-19 response team at Ninewells.

“This team will be working together to care for the most unwell COVID-19 patients from across the whole of Tayside.”

Consultant Anaesthetist and Associate Medical Director for the Surgical Care Division Pamela Johnston added, “We are so grateful to staff who are really stepping up and going the extra mile to support our response to COVID-19.

“Some of the changes we are required to make are very significant, however, our workforce across all levels and all specialties are ensuring we can keep our hospital environments safe and continue to deliver excellent care and treatment for our patients, some of whom are very unwell.

“We would like to thank them for all that they are doing in these times of personal and organisational challenge.”

Additional information

There will continue to be an ICU bed at Perth Royal Infirmary for the stabilisation of any patient who becomes critically unwell before they are transferred to higher dependency care at Ninewells if required.

Patients who are critically ill and being transported to hospital by ambulance will go directly to Ninewells Hospital

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