Coronavirus - what you need to know
NHS patients, staff and visitors to continue to wear face coverings on our sites
Everyone accessing or visiting our services needs to continue wearing a face covering (unless you have a medical exemption) and following social distancing rules.
Covid restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday 19 July. However, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance will remain in place for all staff and visitors across all healthcare settings.
That means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust sites to ensure patients, staff and visitors are protected.
Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting our services, as well as using face coverings, masks and other personal protection equipment.
During these difficult times we want everyone on our sites and in our services to feel safe. Thank you for working with us to help us achieve this. Please be respectful of the fact that people may feel worried about the risk of transmission.
We all need to keep working together, supporting each other and being kind.
If you are visiting one of our sites and there is anything you’re worried about, please talk to a member of our staff.
Our mental health and learning disability services are here for you. We are providing face-to-face, telephone and online support to people under the care of our community services. Hospital services, including visiting, continue running as usual. Please talk to your care team if you have any concerns.
What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. The risk of getting the illness in the UK is high.
A coronavirus is a type of virus with symptoms typically including a fever and a cough that may develop to a severe pneumonia resulting in shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease are more at risk.
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.
Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms
If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of coronavirus please do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The latest advice on what to do is available on the NHS website.
This page also includes a link to the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
Wearing a face covering in our hospitals
People infected with Covid-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.
In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.
You will need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital as a visitor or outpatient.
There are some circumstances where peoeple may not be able to wear a face covering. Government guidance can be found here.
Visiting our hospitals and clinics
Visitors are currenty limited to one person per patient. Visitors will need to complete a lateral flow test on arrival and bring their own test kit with them. Tests are required to be undertaken on site and access to the hospital will only be allowed if the test is negative.
Please read our information for visitors leaflet and arrange visits in advance to check whether your local hospital or clinic is allowing visitors at this time, and the measures you will need to take to help keep everyone safe.
Practical considerations to support visiting
- Before visiting please contact the hospital/unit/clinic to discuss the local arrangements for visiting.
- We currently have room restrictions in place at our community sites to maintain social distancing. The maximum number of people allowed in a room can be inceased for clinical appointments to allow more than one person to accompany you to your appointment, as long as 1m social distancing can be maintained and face masks are worn. Please speak to your clinical team about this.
- Staff will explain what to expect when visiting, and will give you practical advice about social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment and handwashing.
- Visitors must wear masks or face coverings at all times, unless you are exempt from wearing one. The list of reasons for not wearing a facemask can be found here.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and individuals and teams remain our absolute priority.
If you have an appointment, our hospitals and clinics are running, however we are taking precautions in line with the rest of the NHS. Please attend your appointment as normal unless we have contacted you to make alternative arrangements or if you, or someone you live with, have:
- a new, continuous cough
- a temperature (fever) of 37.8 degrees celsius or more
If someone you live with is displaying symptoms you should self isolate for 14 days from the day the first person showed symptoms. Follow the latest advice, which you can find here
If you have an appointment with our Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) please see their websites for specific information about appointments:
Where can I get the latest information?
Public Health England (PHE) is leading the national COVID-19 response and providing messaging and advice to the public. You can read the latest Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England advice here
Information about countries and specified areas affected by COVID-19, along with information for travellers returning to the UK, is available here
PHE also has a suite of guidance available for healthcare professionals in clinical settings.
It can be really difficult to know what to do if your child is ill, even more so in this situation. The NHS has put together this useful guidance to help you if you think your child might need to see a doctor during the pandemic.
What can I do to protect myself?
Your health, safety and wellbeing, that of our patients, communities and staff across our organisation remains our absolute priority. You can help prevent the spread of germs and infection by following PHE advice:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue and wash your hands. If you don't have a tissue use your sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport, and when you get home or into work.
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Follow the latest guidance on social distancing and self isolation to limit the spread of Covid-19, and help protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.
There's a lot of information out there and we know that it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. It's important to acknowledge how you are feeling emotionally as well as looking out for your physical health, so we've pulled together some useful advice and guidance to help you do just that.
Information for service users
In conjunction with our Experts by Experience we have put together some information responding to frequently asked questions. We hope this is useful for you.
For individual arrangements relating to the service you use, please contact your care co-ordinator or lead practitioner for more information.
Information for staff
Staff in Mind
We have launched new mental health service for health and care staff in Sussex (as well as Hampshire CAMHS service employed by Sussex Partnership) who are supporting our local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Staff in Mind is a confidential NHS service for health and care staff who may be experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties. It has been developed by Sussex Partnership on behalf of Sussex Health and Care Partnership, our Integrated Care System that brings together all the NHS organisations and local councils that look after public health and social care across the county.
Funded by NHS England and Improvement, the service offers an independent, confidential and rapid mental wellbeing assessment. It also provides priority access to treatment services for people who - for whatever reason – who may be less likely to seek help or who may prefer not to access the occupational health and wellbeing support that is available where they work. The Staff in Mind service is accessible via www.sussexstaffinmind.nhs.uk. It doesn’t replace the existing occupational health and wellbeing support we have in place, but offers another route for people to access support.
We're regularly updating our staff intranet with the latest information and clinical guidance. You will find a link on the intranet homepage.
We've also put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you. These are available on the staff intranet and via the MySPFT app if you are not on site.
To access the full range of features you will need to register the first time you use the app with a Sussex Partnership email address and a create a memorable password. Remember to login each time you use the app - if you skip you won’t be able to see the exclusive staff content. If you need any further information or guidance please contact your line manager in the first instance.