Yesterday we got the news we’ve all been waiting for, we are approved to re-open for non-essential activity. I know this is the news a lot of users have been waiting for and we are also incredibly happy about it.

As you can imagine however, we are not going to be returning to how things were pre pandemic and have had to find a new normal.  This has resulted in several key changes that are going to continue to impact our patients and I thought it would be good if you were made aware of them as it will inevitably lead to continued anxiety around appointments.

Our clinic capacity has reduced to 30% of what it was before COVID due to both space restrictions but also new social distancing rules. This is going to lead to significantly longer waiting times and tough decisions are going to have to made by both clinicians and our reception staff on priority of users appointments, very often these decision will be disagreed with and we appreciate everyone’s continued patience with how the ‘new normal’ is going to affect them. We appreciate that tensions may run high but want to remind all our users that we still have their best interests at the forefront of our minds!

We are going to be very busy over the next week booking these clinics with those patients that we have deemed to be the highest priority and would appreciate if our users could hold off getting in touch unless there is truly urgent need that we are not already aware of. We have been keeping note of all patients phone calls so if they have already called we will have a record of it and it will have been added to our records for triage.

New measures put in place for patients attending Clinic 9 for an appointment – these have been put in place for both patient and staff safety:

  • Patients should come alone if possible, if not possible should bring only one carer/parent/guardian
  • You will be asked on arrival if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID and it may be necessary to rebook your appointment if you have – we encourage patients to not attend their appointments if any new symptoms present prior to their appointment as per government guidance
  • Patients (and carer/parent/guardian) will be required to wear a mask when entering the premises
  • Special attention is being paid to the beginning and end of scheduled appointments to ensure that patient flow throughout the department can be maintained – this may mean that we cannot address all issues at an appointment and the clinician will focus on the most pressing, rebooking if anything further needs dealing with.
  • We will ask you to don/doff your own prosthesis and may ask you remove additional items from the limb (shoes/socks) for it to go into the workshop.
  • Social distancing rules means that patients will now be in rooms without other patients and clinicians will only approach within a 2m distance if necessary and with appropriate PPE (surgical mask, gloves and apron)

We appreciate your continued support through this difficult time and will continue to keep you updated with any developments that are relevant to our users

In addition to the above we have the very bitter sweet news to pass on that Hannah Hughes will be leaving us from the end of this week, Hannah has always wanted to return to her home town of Swansea and a job became available during these uncertain times that she has been successful in obtaining. We are very sad to see Hannah go but thrilled for her moving onto this new challenge much closer to home

Hope all are keeping well.

Best wishes

Alex Tyler
Centre Manager, Clinical Lead Orthotist