Ninewells sets up ‘Green Zone’ for surgery patients

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A new ‘Green Zone’ has been set up in Ninewells to protect patients coming to hospital for their planned urgent surgery. The zone in the West Block ensures patients are kept apart from the areas in the hospital caring for COVID-19 patients.

Routine elective surgery continues to be paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, however some patients are still coming to hospital for urgent surgery for serious conditions, such as cancer.

Clinical teams and support staff have been working together over the past few weeks to create the new protected area for these more vulnerable patients.

Wards and surgical theatres in the hospital’s West Block have been designated as the Green Zone and patients coming in for their operations will be directed to a dedicated separate entrance for the area where they will be met by one of the surgical team.

Coming to the Green Zone is actually the second part of the journey for patients attending for their urgent surgery. The first part starts two weeks before they arrive at hospital as they must isolate at home for 14 days to ensure they do not have coronavirus. During this time, the patient is supported by NHS Tayside’s pre-assessment team who ensure that they receive food and medicines by linking with community volunteers. The patient is also supported by dietitians and physiotherapists so that they are in the best possible physical condition before their surgery.

Dr Pamela Johnston, Associate Medical Director, Surgical Care Division, said, “By creating this Green Zone, we are effectively creating a protective bubble around these patients.

“It is so important that we protect them as much as we can as they have put in so much effort to get themselves ready for surgery. We want them and their families to be reassured that we have planned and prepared very carefully to minimise risk when they come to hospital.

“Measures are in place to minimise footfall in the zone to only those staff who need to be there. Staff working in the zone are using the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and observing the 2 metre physical distancing rules. As with all of our staff, they will also be continually monitoring themselves for coronavirus symptoms before coming to work.”

This re-zoning of NHS Tayside hospitals follows on from the ‘hospital within a hospital’ which has already been created in Ninewells to care for coronavirus patients separately from other hospital patients, and the changes made in Perth Royal Infirmary. Work is ongoing to prepare another Green Zone in Perth Royal Infirmary.

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