LYMINGTON hospital is on standby to treat patients when the coronavirus outbreak reaches its peak.
The facility will be working with local community hospitals and social care teams to provide the maximum number of beds, said Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
It runs the hospitals in the New Forest and said it was “well prepared” for the worst of the outbreak, which is predicted by the government to be around May or June.
As of yesterday morning (Sunday) there were 156 confirmed cases in the Hampshire County Council area, and 12 in the BCP Council area. Nationally 281 people have died from the virus out of 5,683 cases – up by 665 in a day.
A Southern Health spokesperson said: “At Lymington New Forest Hospital we will be working to ensure we have as many beds as possible available to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks.
“We will also be working closely with our community hospital teams, primary care services and social care providers to ensure patients can return home as soon as possible.”
The hospital in Ampress Park, Wellworthy Road, currently has four inpatient wards and a recovery ward. The big Southampton and Bournemouth hospitals are the main treatment centres locally.
The Southern Health spokesperson added: “All NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads.
“Southern Health, alongside our local partners, will be working closely to ensure we can provide the support our local communities need.
“The NHS and Public Health England are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases.
“In line with national guidance, Southern Health has put in place a number of measures to protect patients, our community and staff while ensuring as many services as possible are available to the public.”
Southern Health is currently asking the public to restrict visits to hospital patients to one person for one hour a day, and consider other ways of keeping in touch, such as phone or video calls. Only immediate family or carers are allowed.
It has also banned visits from anyone who is unwell, especially if they have a high temperature or a new and persistent cough, or are vulnerable as a result of medication, a chronic illness or being aged 70 or above.
The other community hospitals in the New Forest are at Milford, Hythe and Fordingbridge. Christchurch’s hospital is run by the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals
THE chief executive of the Poole and Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS trusts has said she is “hugely encouraged” by progress made in preparing for a worsening of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a message to staff on Friday, Debbie Fleming said the hospitals were “doing all they could” to be ready for the coming months, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
It follows work to expand capacity within their emergency departments and the cancellation of much of its planned surgery.
Mrs Fleming said: “I am hugely encouraged by the progress that has been made in planning to create more emergency capacity, including intensive care facilities, and of course this can come on line very swiftly now given the decision to reduce elective activity.”
Last week University Hospital Southampton said it had agreed a £2m investment in critical care equipment.
For advice, go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19.