West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised her serious concerns about the health and safety needs of immunosuppressed patients in hospitals.
After a statement on the Coronavirus in Parliament on Tuesday, MP Rosie asked Matt Hancock if hospitals and A&Es in particular are following the established protocol and have a place where immunosuppressed patients, including those undergoing chemotherapy, can wait safely rather than in a crowded A&E for hours, especially important now because of the current increased risk with Coronavirus.
The Health Secretary unfortunately missed the point in his response, simply pointing out that A&Es have a pod at the front of the hospital where those suspected of having Coronavirus would wait, ignoring the fact that there could be carriers who are yet to have symptoms in the waiting room as well as many other infectious people.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Although Coronavirus or Covid 19 is on most people’s radar at the moment, I raised a question specifically about immunosuppressed patients whose immune system is weakened due to illness or chemotherapy and that they should for their safety be accommodated away from potentially infectious areas and not just told to wait in crowded A&Es where they are very susceptible to infection.
“Front line staff, especially receptionists in A&E should know the rules and have received training so as not to endanger patients and NHS Trusts should have an area in which immunosuppressed patients can wait safely.
“The Health Secretary could only utter a few short words and pointing out that pods had been made available to A&Es since the outbreak of Coronavirus, but failed to respond to the very serious concern about the protection of immunosuppressed patients who have been ‘instructed’ to attend A&E.
“Pods may have been delivered but I understand not all are operational, I will now be writing to Matt Hancock demanding a full explanation and details for how hospitals and A&Es treat and protect immunosuppressed patients. I will also be raising this with the NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens.”
Rosie Cooper MP, West Lancashire
Thank you Mr Speaker.
The Secretary of State will know that those who are immunosuppressed are not required to sit in a crowded waiting room if they have to be in hospital or at A&E.
And that’s in normal conditions never mind Covid19 conditions.
Last evening, I attended Aintree Hospital with a patient who just finished the first round of Chemo and we have the Chemo aware system and she was told by the receptionist to sit in a very, very crowded waiting room, where there was a five hour wait, and she was told that’s where she would have to be, because there was nowhere else for her to go. I stood in a corridor between the front door and sliding doors, to ensure that she didn’t have to be subject to that.
So my question to the Secretary of State is how he’s going to ensure that those frontline staff, not necessarily clinicians, those frontline staff actually understand the difficulty and the increased danger, but also does each A&E, does each hospital have a place where those people can wait safely. This is not good enough.
Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
The answer is yes, each A&E has a pod now in front of it which we funded since the outbreak of this virus so that people who are suspected cases can go into that pod, not into the main A&E to try to address exactly the sorts of problems that she addresses.