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NHS EnglandHealth leaders have set out a series of measures to help local hospitals plan to increase routine operations and treatment, while keeping the necessary capacity and capability to treat future coronavirus patients.

Over the coming weeks patients who need important planned procedures – including surgery – will begin to be scheduled for that care, with specialists prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need, but, in line with measures currently in place to protect staff and patients who have been receiving urgent treatment during the pandemic, they will be required to isolate themselves for 14 days and be clear of any symptoms before being admitted.

Testing will also be increasingly offered to those waiting to be admitted to provide further certainty for patients and staff that they are COVID-free.  This approach will help to protect patients from potentially catching the virus in hospital, and help staff to ensure they are using the correct infection control measures and protective equipment.  Those requiring urgent and emergency care will continue to be tested on arrival and streamed accordingly, with services split to make the risk of picking up the virus in hospital as low as possible.  Those attending emergency departments and other ‘walk-in’ services will be required to maintain social distancing, with trusts expected to make any adjustments necessary to allow this.

Dialysis machineDialysis machines are used to remove waste products and excess fluid from the blood when the kidneys stop working properly. The treatment, known as hemofiltration, is a delicate process which mimics the kidney, by continually cleaning the blood of toxins and rebalancing it with, for example, electrolytes. The technique requires a very specific range of kit and fluids to work.

Due to the sharp increase in demand, “continuous” dialysis machines and the fluids needed to run them are running low, along with other consumables such as the tubing needed to connect a patient to the machine.

The Department of Health has issued a supply disruption alert stating that the clinical presentation of Covid-19 patients admitted to critical care suggests that there is a higher than usual demand for Renal Replacement Therapy (RRT) in patients where viral disease is the reason for admission. Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) are reporting that 28.8% of patients requiring advanced respiratory support also require RRT (17th April 2020 ICNARC)

Nightingale hospitalThank you to the EBME / Medical Engineers currently working hard to commission thousands of ‘Covid-19’ medical equipment assets for hospitals and wards across the UK.

New field hospitals, and new Covid-19 hospital wards within our current NHS hospitals are currently being transformed to provide support for many the thousands of sick patients with the covid-19 virus.

To actually commission the equipment country-wide requires a monumental effort from the medical engineering community, with many engineers from the public and private sectors teaming up to accelerate the process from unpacking the equipment to setting up the bed space.

Each of those bed spaces needs a variety of equipment, including the bed, ventilator, patient monitor, defibrillator, syringe pumps, infusion pumps, flowmeters, and suction. (with the associated piped gases). These devices are assembled, checked, and installed into the bed space. We are proud of all our professional colleagues, who are making such a tremendous effort to get these bed spaces operational. It is the hard work of these engineers and technicians, that enables additional equipment to be ready for the doctors and nurses to use. NHS critical care capacity will continue to increase over the coming weeks, by several thousand beds, with the support and hard work of our medical engineering community.

NHS field hospital covid 19In England, new NHS Nightingale Hospitals will open in London, Birmingham and Manchester to provide care to thousands more patients with coronavirus, chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has announced. The hospital based at the ExCel in London will start with 500 beds equipped with a capacity of 4000 beds, the NEC in Birmingham will start with up to 500 beds equipped with the capacity to increase beds up to 2,000 if needed. The hospital based at the Manchester Central Complex will provide up to 500 beds but could expand further to 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients across the North West of England. These new hospitals will provide support for patients from across the Midlands and the North West. Confirmation of the new NHS Nightingale sites came as Sir Simon revealed that the NHS has freed up 33,000 beds across existing NHS hospitals for coronavirus patients, the equivalent of 50 new hospitals.

In Wales, NHS executives have been putting structures and processes in place to combat Covid-19 across the main hospital sites, at the University Hospital Wales and the University Hospital Llandough. In addition to this they have secured the Principality Stadium, Cardiff as a temporary field hospital with the capacity to hold up to an additional 2,000 beds.  Clinicians and managers are currently working with the Principality Stadium team and a range of specialist contractors to create the new facility at pace. The work has already started with teams assigned to adapt the home of Welsh rugby to a temporary hospital - a significant task in scale and the timing of the virus.

Abbott testingAbbott Launches Molecular Point-of-Care Test to Detect Novel Coronavirus in as Little as Five Minutes

Abbott have announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for the detection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), delivering positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results in 13 minutes. The test will run on the company's ID NOW™ platform, providing rapid results in a wide range of healthcare settings such as physicians' offices, urgent care clinics and hospital emergency departments.

The ID NOW platform is small, lightweight and portable, and uses molecular technology, which is valued by clinicians and the scientific community for its high degree of accuracy. ID NOW is already the most widely available molecular point-of-care testing platform in the U.S. today.

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