Royal Berks gears up to cope with virus cases

Our town’s main hospital is putting in place the next phase of its action plan.
Photo of Royal Berkshire Hospital

The Royal Berkshire Hospital is increasing the number of intensive care beds and cancelling non-urgent operations as part of a range of new measures to deal with coronavirus.

Steve McManus (pictured left), chief executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We recognise we’re asking a lot of people, often at very difficult times in their lives when they are unwell or wanting to be with people who are ill. Our staff too are facing all sorts of difficult day-to-day issues and this is why the support and understanding we offer to each other is so important.”

How hospital services are changing

  • Many outpatient clinic appointments are being carried out via phone or video
  • Visitors are restricted to one per patient per day, no children under 12 allowed
  • Intensive care beds have increased from 14 to 36 with a further 20 more planned
  • Planned surgery has been suspended to free up staff for urgent work
  • Urgent surgery could be moved to private hospitals
  • An ‘Ask A&E’ online service may be introduced to ease pressure on staff
  • The hospital layout has changed with different patient zones for people's safety

Mr McManus added: “If we are to successfully deal with this virus, stop its spread, treat those affected and free up the hospital’s resources to do so, then we have to take these sort of serious steps now.

“So my message to [friends and family of inpatients] is please think again just how much they really do need to make that visit. Can they keep in touch with their loved one over the phone for now? By choosing not to come into the building they are doing a huge amount to help our staff.”

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