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Coronavirus
How we are managing our services

Coronavirus

Following NHS England guidance, elective services have started to resume across the country.

Our vision statement has never been so relevant as it is today – a society where everyone can get access to free or affordable world-class treatment for advanced eye conditions without any unnecessary delay or worry

So, to avoid unnecessary delay we have already started to treat the many patients requiring routine treatment for advanced eye conditions that have been put on hold during the pandemic. Our priority is to treat these patients as soon as we are able.

We are accepting referrals through the normal local CCG channels or directly (if appropriate) by secure email, newmedica.referrals@nhs.net or fax 0207 924 6262.

All new referrals will be clinically triaged, and patients will be contacted to discuss next steps.

Keeping you safe during your visit

During this difficult time, we appreciate that many patients may be worried about their safety when receiving care. So, to avoid unnecessary worry we have been working hard during lockdown to introduce significant changes in the way we treat patients to ensure their safety at all times.

Where appropriate we will deliver as much of the treatment pathway as possible remotely. But as we operate in standalone clinics away from unwell patients or wards, our dedicated clinics and environments mean we can control the flow of patients, adhere to social distancing guidelines and ensure our environments are regularly cleaned.

Some examples of our changes in clinic:

  • Based on NHS guidance, all patients attending a surgical procedure will need to self-isolate for 14 days before coming into the clinic.
  • All patients will receive a COVID-19 screening call 48-72 hours before their face to face appointment to ensure they are well enough to attend.
  • We are limiting the number of appointments per day to adhere to social distancing guidelines and we are asking that patients attend alone unless they need someone to assist them.
  • When patients arrive outside the clinic, we are asking them to call us on the number found on their appointment letter to let us know they have arrived. We will call them back when it’s time to come in.
  • During the visit we will ask patients to keep two metres apart from other people, except from the clinical team who will be delivering their care.
  • Upon entry to our facility we’ll check every patient’s temperature, provide them with hand sanitiser and a face mask.
  • Every member of the Newmedica team will always have appropriate PPE.

A member of the Newmedica team will talk each patient through these changes so they feel comfortable and safe before they are asked to attend any face to face appointment.

How it’s working so far

The response from patients so far has been overwhelmingly positive, as described by patient and amateur wildlife photographer, John Lake. The 76-year-old had been suffering with sight problems for several years due to a cataract in his left eye.

‘I had a cataract removed from my right eye years ago and although I also had one in my left it wasn’t bad enough to remove at the time. However, over the last nine months my vision had got worse. I couldn’t read and I enjoy wildlife photography, but my pictures were all off-centre. I’m also a carer for my wife and the only one in the household who can drive, so it was important I got the problem sorted.’

‘My appointment was, understandably, postponed due to the pandemic but then I received a phone call from Newmedica saying they were able to resume my treatment and asked if I could come in. I was delighted. Everyone was so friendly and professional and wearing full PPE. I was wearing a face mask too. The surgery was so simple and painless. It only took 20 minutes, but it has made a 100% improvement to my life. I can’t rate my experience highly enough and have been singing the team’s praises ever since.'

FAQs

  • When will my operation be rescheduled?

    If your planned surgery was postponed during the last few months, you will now be on a waiting list. You will be contacted in due course to arrange a new date for your operation.

  • What is my risk of getting COVID-19?

    While it’s not currently possible to entirely eliminate the risk of catching COVID-19 during your visit, our teams are taking every possible measure to minimise your risk of infection. Our staff have been trained on how to limit the spread of the virus, with additional safety measures including

    • Frequent hand washing
    • Social distancing within our services
    • Regular deep cleaning of our buildings
    • Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • COVID-19 testing for staff where required

    Your surgeon will discuss the benefits and risks of surgery, as part of your shared decision-making, before going ahead with your appointment. This will include consideration of any risk to you from delaying treatment. If you are in a high-risk group for contracting COVID-19, or you have serious underlying medical conditions, it may be suggested that your operation is deferred until later, when it would be safer for you.

  • How should I prepare for my operation?

    What to do if you are offered a new date for your operation

    If you have concerns about the timing of your operation, you should discuss them with your surgeon. You might want to ask about:

    • The benefits and risks of the procedure
    • The risks of catching COVID-19
    • Your risk from any pre-existing medical conditions
    • The possible side effects of the proposed operation
    • Alternative options for treatment, including non-surgical care or no treatment
    • Any further treatment after the operation that may be required and how you can access it

    Virtual consultations

    Whether you are discussing a rescheduled operation or having your initial pre-operative assessment with a member of the surgical team, this consultation may take place online or by phone, rather than face-to-face. This is to limit the number of people coming into our clinics while COVID-19 is still present in our community. Visits should only happen when absolutely necessary, such as when urgent scans or other examinations are required.

    COVID-19 screening

    Before your operation, you are likely to be asked to undergo a 14-day self-isolation period at home. Anyone who lives with you will need to do the same.

    Around 48-72 hours before your appointment, one of our clinic assistants will call you and ask if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high temperature, continuous cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell. If you have any symptoms you will be asked to self-isolate and follow government advice. We will rearrange your appointment once you no longer have symptoms and you’re feeling better.

  • What will happen on the day of my surgery?

    When you arrive at the clinic you will be asked to remain in your car and call the service to inform them that you have arrived. You will be asked whether you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as a high temperature, continuous cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell. If you have any symptoms you will be asked to return home to self-isolate and follow government advice. We will rearrange your appointment once you no longer have symptoms and you’re feeling better.

    We ask that anybody accompanying you remains in the car during your appointment. If you do need a carer to support you, please let the service know prior to the day of your appointment.

    Once we know you’ve arrived safely, you will be asked to come to the entrance of the clinic where a clinic assistant will be there to meet you (they will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)). There they will take your temperature to check whether you have a fever (if you do, they will ask you to return home to self-isolate as this is a sign of COVID-19). If your temperature is normal, the clinic assistant will ask you to sanitise your hands and provide you with a new face covering.

    The face masks you and the staff wear should not stop you from communicating as you normally would, but if you have any difficulty hearing or understanding what is being said through the PPE, please let them know. They might be able to provide alternative ways of communicating with you.

  • What will happen after my operation?

    Once your surgery is completed a nurse will explain what you’ll need to do when you get home. They will then escort you to the reception area where you can call your driver to collect you. You will be asked to sanitise your hands before you leave the clinic. You will also be provided with an emergency number in case you need to speak to someone outside of office hours

    Aftercare and follow-up appointments

    The service will call you 24-48 hours after your surgery to check on your recovery and answer any questions you may have. You will be provided with a follow-up appointment 4-6 weeks after your surgery to ensure your eye has healed. This will most likely be via a virtual consultation online or via your optician.