As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to fall North Cumbria Integrated care NHS Foundation Trust are beginning to re-start some face to face out-patient services.

At the beginning of the pandemic the Trust had to reduce the amount of services that it provided in order to release staff to support the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

Most out-patient services continued in a remote way either by telephone or by remote consultation using video, however face to face consultation had to be suspended across many of our out-patient services.

Dr Rod Harpin; interim medical director said: Rod_Harpin.jpg‚Äč

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the public during this time, we know that a lot of people had to have their appointments in a different way and we are grateful for your cooperation.

The feedback from patients about remote consultations either by telephone or video has been very positive and this is a way of working that we will be taking forward.”

The Trust is now bringing back the ability to host face to face out-patient appointments where clinically necessary in a phased way.

Dr Harpin added:

“Some patients do need to come into our outpatient sites for a face to face consultation and we are bringing the ability for services to do this back in a phased way. Only once strict infection prevention measures have been met are services able to offer face to face appointments and we will be contacting patients if we need them to come in.

“COVID-19 has given us a unique situation to look at the way we deliver our services and has shown that remote consultation is something that our patients find very convenient. We have manged to deliver this across many more services than we did pre COVID-19. However for some people a face to face consultation is required and therefore we are looking across our outpatient services to see how we can deliver this safely. Only after careful consideration and planning can services ask patients to come in person to an appointment.

“If you are invited to an outpatient site for an appointment it is because it is required for your needs. We will only ask you to come and see us if it is necessary.

“Please come on your own if you are able and please wear a face covering, if you don’t have one we will be able to provide you with one. We have one way systems in place and hand sanitiser on all our entrances and exits, please follow all our infection prevention measures they are for your safety and the safety of others.”

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