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Return to normal across health and social care services

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Health and care services Island-wide will return to their pre-lockdown ways of operating when the circuit break restrictions are lifted from 00:01 on Monday 1 February.

Preventing the spread of coronavirus after the Christmas and New Year period led to services across the board in hospitals and the community, being suspended or reduced to protect patients, service users, staff and the public. Just over three weeks later, with no evidence of the virus circulating in the community and no further need for social distancing, normal service is being restored.

Day services for older people and adults with learning disabilities will resume across all sites, along with dementia day care and respite services. DHSC operated residential homes for older people, dementia care residential units and learning disability community homes, all of which had been closed to non-essential visitors, will welcome family and friends back to visit their loved ones.

Outpatient clinics at Noble’s and in the community will remain as booked for next week, after which a blended approach of face-to-face and virtual clinics will be in place. Hospitals and mental health facilities will be open to visitors, with the pre lockdown system of set times and visitor registration in place as an ongoing infection prevention measure. PPE measures across services will be scaled back.

Staff and volunteers who have been subject to shielding will be able to return to work and the popular café, shops, canteen and ward trolley service at Noble’s will be back in business.

Elective procedures, which had been suspended late last year to provide additional capacity in the hospital, are being resumed and consultants across all areas have reviewed their lists to ensure urgent cases are dealt with first.   

Primary Care services - GPs, dentists and opticians - have all remained open for patients during the circuit break period. These services will continue to ask patients Covid-19 screening questions as they have done since last year, and GP Practices and will continue to offer telephone consultations, where clinically appropriate, as a first point of contact with patients.

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:

‘Thanks to the hard work of the Manx people in stopping community spread of the virus, we can return to what’s become our ‘new normal’ after last year’s lockdown. I’m delighted we are able to turn suspended and reduced services back on without delay. The restrictions were necessary for everyone’s safety and I thank patients, staff, service users, their families and carers for their patience and understanding over recent weeks.’

The prescription home delivery service kindly provided during the lockdown by St John Ambulance will continue until Sunday 7 February. People who have received medication deliveries from St John Ambulance should make new arrangements for collection of their medication. Some pharmacies can offer a regular delivery service to patients who cannot travel, and this should be discussed with the pharmacy directly.

In line with the Government’s current response to the pandemic, COVID assessments will continue to be undertaken for patients attending clinics and outpatient facilities throughout the DHSC. These have been updated to reflect the changes in symptoms and the isolation period and testing options for those travelling to the Isle of Man.