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SWAH starting to return to normal

WITH very low numbers of Covid patients over the past number of weeks, South West Acute Hospital is now beginning to return to ‘normal’, but is ready to ramp up its fight against the virus if another surge comes in the months ahead.
Speaking on Monday, director of acute services at the Western Trust, Geraldine McKay, said there were currently only three patients with the virus at SWAH, none of whom were in intensive care. Overall, she said “we haven’t had the surge we expected” and Trust was now aiming to “reset and return to our services.”
“That is mainly down to the population doing exactly what we asked it to do,” she said. “They stayed at home, they washed their hands regularly, and the did social distancing. We really, really appreciate that.”
Having redeployed staff and cancelled routine services, Ms McKay said: “We are now returning wards back to their normal speciality provision.
“As we go forward we will keep doing this and try to maintain some sort of normality, or resetting services.”
However, while she said SWAH was returning to “phase zero” of surge planning, many appointments, such as outpatients, will continue to be held virtually for the foreseeable future.
As for a possible ‘second surge’, Ms McKay said the local health service was now prepared for any outbreaks to come with a “robust surge plan.”
“If a surge happened we would immediately step it back up again,” she said.
“We’ve done a lot of work, preparation and planning, so we have a very robust pandemic plan in place that we would just put back into action again.”
While the hospital is doing well, some local care homes are still battling the virus, however, according to Trust director of older people’s services, Bob Brown.
“We need to see this through May and June, and hopefully move from where the risk is to mitigating those risks, to then building resilience,” he said.
“If there is a second surge of Covid in the autumn then we want to not only learn but be ready for it. We’re all hearing on a national level there is a chance of a second surge at some point.”

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