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Coronavirus: NHS Tayside insight into workings of Ninewells Covid-19 assessment and treatment unit

Ninewells staff on the frontline of the Covid-19 fight.
Ninewells staff on the frontline of the Covid-19 fight.

The specialist Covid-19 unit at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital has been revealed for the first time.

Health bosses have spoken of the “unprecedented” work carried out by teams from across NHS Tayside in setting up the assessment and treatment facility and its vital role in the battle to beat the pandemic.

The “hospital within a hospital” is treating patients who are unwell with either medical or surgical problems and who are also showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Health chiefs have said the set-up has been designed to ensure patients with Covid-19 remain separate from other patients within the hospital.

Clinical Director Dr Ron Cook, Infectious Diseases Clinical Lead Dr Busi Mooka and Clinical Director Dr Christopher Schofield.

“Patients cannot directly refer themselves to the unit but they are admitted via NHS 24, the emergency department or their GP,” said a spokesperson.

“The emergency department at Ninewells Hospital has been redesigned to ensure they can look after the most unwell patients coming to hospital and the team has worked closely with other services in the hospital to make sure patients can move quickly and safely into the hospital if needed.

“The clinical teams wanted to let people know what happens if they require to be admitted following assessment at the unit.”

The assessment unit and treatment area.

If patients require admission they will be taken to a single room, where they will be tested for coronavirus.

If they are negative, they will move to one of the main hospital wards.

If they are positive, they will move to one of the COVID-19 wards where they will be cared for by a dedicated team of nurses, doctors and therapists.

Medical director, Professor Peter Stonebridge, said: “In recent weeks our teams have achieved things none of us would have thought possible in the timeframe given.

“Patient pathways have been re-drawn, entire units and wards have been created and the workforce has been deployed in an entirely different way.

“We want to thank everyone who has been involved in planning and delivering care during these uncertain times and to assure the people of Tayside that we are committed to maintaining the highest quality of care for all our patients.

Dr Ronald Cook said: “The amount of hard work which has gone into creating this dedicated assessment unit is unprecedented.

“The team work which has been seen over the last few weeks has been immense with every single person working toward a common goal of providing the best care for the patients of Tayside.

“We know that there are going to be tough times ahead, but patients can be reassured that we are prepared for this and are ready to provide the highest level of care for them and their families.”

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