READING: Only seven Covid-19 patients now at Royal Berkshire Hospital

ONLY seven people at the Royal Berkshire Hospital are currently being treated for coronavirus.

The latest data comes from hospital chiefs as they urge people not to cancel appointments and return to planned appointments as usual.

It follows fears from medics that people with potentially life-threatening illness are staying away over fears of contracting Covid-19.

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Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Steve McManus said today: “We are now almost a Covid free hospital with just seven positive patients being treated here at the moment.

“We’ve implemented major safety procedures to make sure our patients and staff are as protected as possible and we are very anxious that people who do need to come here for treatment do so.”

Clinicians at the hospital reported low numbers of people turning up for allotted clinic slots or operations that were put on hold during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The hospital said one recent example included contacting 200 people who are on the waiting list for cataract surgery and told there were free slots – just three took up the offer.

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Mr McManus added: “Our staff have been tested for Covid-19, we have strict social distancing rules in place, clinical rooms are thoroughly cleaned after each patient has been seen, everyone is wearing a mask or face covering, hand sanitisers are in place around the site, new rules on using the lifts are in place – everything possible has been done and I can reassure people they are in very safe hands when they come here.”

Hospital bosses also said the confusion around self-isolating rules hasn’t help. It clarified that people booked in for an operation must isolate for 14 days along with the rest of their household. And when they are called in for a swab before their surgery, they are advised to avoid public transport as this effectively takes them out of the 14 day isolation period.

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Reading Chronicle