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Frequently asked questions

Find out more about safety and preparing for surgery

Find the answers to common questions

We have created a series of Frequently Asked Questions to help you find the information you need. We will continually add to these questions as the situation devleops. If you would like to ask a question, please contact your consultant. Click here
 
Is it safe to visit the hospital?

Healthcare services across the world are working hard to protect patients who require surgery duiring the pademic from COVID-19 before or after their operation. Surgeons and researchers have been gathering the most up-to-date information about managing patients who need an operation during the pandemic and contract the virus before or after surgery. This will help make decisions based on actual data, rather than opinion.

Most patients having surgery during the pandemic will not contract COVID-19 around the time of their operation.

Even though we are not treating COVID patients at our hospital, you could still come into contact with a person carrying the virus (as you could in the supermarket or any public indoor space). While we are taking every precaution possible, and instructing patients to self isolate and be tested before admission, there is still a risk of contracting COVID.

The risks of surgery when COVID positive

We are still in the early stages of understanding this virus and its impact on surgical outcomes. Some reports indicate that if you have an operation while COVID positive or develop COVID while recovering, there is a significant risk that you could end up being ill enough with the virus to need a ventilator on an intensive care unit.

You surgeon will talk to you about the risks when they seek your consent for surgery. Please ask as many questions as you like. 

The precautions we are taking

Although the risks of surgery with COVID are increased, we are taking every precaution possible to reduce risks:

  • Every patient will self isolate for two weeks before they are admitted
  • Every patient will be tested for COVID twice before their admission
  • Every member of staff will have their temperature checked when they arrive for work
  • Every member of staff will wear a mask inside a clinical area
  • Every member of staff will comply with rigorous infection prevention measures
  • The environment in our hospital has been redesigned to support compliance with social distancing and infection prevention

Your choice

Surgery is your choice and always has risks and benefits associated with it. You can decide whether to proceed with your surgery, or delay it and discuss alternative treatment options.

Click here to find a contact number to discuss your options

We are operating a ‘COVID managed service’. This means that although the risk of COVID-19 exists, we have undertaken significant risk assessments and take all possible precautions to maintain as safe an environment as possible.

Unlike acute hospitals, we are not treating COVID patients. Everyone will be required to self-isolate before the visit and will be tested before being admitted. This will greatly reduce the risk of infection.

Our hospital staff comply with rigorous hygiene policies and social distancing where possible. We are closely monitoring and regularly testing staff to ensure they do not pass the virus to patients. Be assured, they are professionals with one of the best infection prevention track-records in the NHS.

Just like supermarkets and other public spaces, we have made significant changes to our site to prioritise safety. This enables us to reduce the risk of infection and reduce risks as far as possible.

Your safety is our highest priority.

How do I prepare to visit the hospital?

Plan your visit

To ensure you feel prepared, please visit the plan my visit section.

Read patient information

 
 
When will patients be tested?

Patients will be tested twice prior to their surgery, 48 hours (Day 13 of self-isolation) and 96 hours (Day 11 of self-isolation), a staff member will visit them in their home to carry out the testing. Results are available within 24 hours. By testing patients twice we are reducing the risk of a false negative result.

What happens if I test positive for Covid-19?

Our Pre Operative team will contact patients with their test results, any positive results will require patients to isolate in accordance with Government guidance. Surgery will be rescheduled for a later date.

What will happen if I develop COVID symptoms while in hospital?

If you become symptomatic, you will be immediately moved in to an isolated space and screened for COVID. We have dedicated areas and specialist care.

If you tested positive, you would stay in an isolated space. You would have access to an iPad and telephone so that you can contact your family and be entertained while isolated. Our care teams would provide dedicated care to you.

In the unlikely event you became seriously ill, you would be moved to an actute hospital with care facilities.
What should I do if I need to break my self-isolation period?

If an emergency situation arises which requires you to leave your home and break your isolation, please contact the Trust (using the number provided prior the start of your isolation) as this will need to be reviewed and your surgery may be rescheduled.

Will patients who have already consented be required to consent for surgery again?

Patients will be required to consent again following a discussion regarding Covid risks.

Are you treating patients with COVID-19?

We are running an elective service for patients who have completed a strict isolation/screening pathway prior to admission only. If we are required to admit an orthopaedic emergency patient who has not completed this pathway, they will be treated in an isolated area, not in the same areas as elective inpatients.

Is there a greater risk if I have surgery at the moment?

The inherent risks of orthopaedic surgery are the same and this will be explained in detail during your consent process. You can ask your surgeon a question and they will be happy to answer.

The risk of contracting COVID exists (as it does everywhere), however, we are taking every precaution possible to run the safest service possible. Your safety is out highest priority.

What will happen if I choose to delay my surgery?

If you choose not to proceed with surgery, you may have to wait longer than usual. This is because we will be treating more patients from Birmingham and Solihull and it is likely waiting lists will grow. It is also unclear on how long this pandemic will last and the impact it will have. This could mean that you find yourself in the same position in six months or a year.

You should also consider that your condition may deteriorate while you wait. Your surgeon can give you advice about your specific condition and the impact of delaying your surgery.

What is the process for testing or screening?

Testing for COVID-19 is simple. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).

We will ask that you attend a ‘drive thru’ testing site at 4 days and 2 days before your operation, you can go to the drive thru on your own or with a member of your household who is isolating with you.

If you are unable to attend the drive thru we will provide alternative testing.

The results of your tests will be provided to your surgical team who will share the results with you. If you are positive you will be rebooked as soon as possible.
How are you working differently to maintain safety?

Just like supermarkets and other public spaces, we have made significant changes to our site to prioritise safety.

Site flow

We have marked clear one-way pathways around the site. This will make is easy to get where you are going and support you to socially distance

Parking charges

We have made parking free for the moment. This will make it easier for patients and will ensure no cash is exchanged, or parking machines are touched by multiple people.

Social distancing

Our site is marked for social distancing so it’s easy for you to maintain a 2 metre distance. We have also removed all non-essential equipment and furniture to improve easy movement around the site.

Increased cleaning schedule

We are running a 24/7 cleaning schedule with particular attention to high traffic areas

Sanitising stations

We have made it easy to sanitise your hands and access any necessary PPE. There are stations all over the Trust that are clearly marked

Navigators and entry points

When you arrive, you will be greeted by a navigator. This person will explain what you need to do and where you need to go. They will ensure that restrictions are maintained and you are supported.

Staff compliance

Our healthcare teams have lots of experience in infection prevention. We have provided them with additional training, PPE and continued support to offer the safest care possible
What if another patient has COVID?

As an elective hospital, we are not treating anyone with COVID or COVID symptoms. Every patient will be required to self-isolate for two weeks before they visit and will be screened when they arrive. This decreases the risk of patients having COVID.

However, if a patient becomes symptomatic, they will be immediately moved in to an isolated space. Those involved with their care will sanitise themselves and the area will be deep cleaned. Anyone who has been in contact with them will be screened to ensure they are not positive for COVID.
What should I do if I develop Covid-19 symptoms during the self-isolation period?

Patients will be provided with a contact number prior to beginning their isolation period.

What will staff be wearing PPE?

Our staff all follow the government guidance on PPE and take specialist advice from out Infection, Prevention and Control Team. Staff will wear the correct PPE when caring for you.

There are some misconceptions about what the ‘correct’ PPE is. Click here to read the latest guidance.

Please be assured, we have adequate stock of PPE. Every staff member has access to what they need and have received training on how and when to use it.

Alongside PPE, we observe hand sanitisation, social distancing and rigorous cleaning to help ensure your safety.

Will I have to wear PPE?

Upon entry to the hospital you will be required to wear a mask and sanitise your hand. During your treatment, you may be asked to wear a mask.

Will I be allowed visitors?

In order to maintain safety, we are preventing visitors from entering the site. However you will be allowed support as you enter and are discharged from hospital. You should choose one family member or friend to support you.

Will patients be required to self-isolate post-operatively?

Patients will be required to self-isolate, this will be dependent on the type of surgery and will be discussed with their consultant prior to the operation. Those providing transport/after-care will need to remain in isolation for when the patient is discharged.

If I have concerns during my stay

Please raise any concerns with a health professional, a ward manager. We encourage an open, learning culture and your concern will be taken seriously.

You can also contact our PALS team who can support you. 079 178 28399 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Are staff being tested?

All staff will be offered Covid antibody testing.