NHS orders 'assessment pods' for every hospital

The NHS has said that every hospital in England is being asked to create ‘priority assessment pods’ for patients with suspected coronavirus.

Professor Keith Willett, NHS strategic incident director, has made the instruction in a letter to hospital bosses, seen by The Independent. In it he says: “Trusts are being asked to organise a coronavirus priority assessment pod, which will mean people with symptoms indicative of infection will get quick assessment, while other patients also continue to get appropriate care.”

From inside the pods, patients will be told to phone the NHS 111 helpline. They will then be assessed, with A&E staff updated by telephone and warned off they need testing. The coronavirus pods could be designed to help doctors separate anyone suspected of suffering from the coronavirus and also prevent them from interrupting the normal function of A&E departments.

As such, the letter sats that they must be in ‘an isolated area of the hospital, which is away from the emergency department and able to be decontaminated after every use’.

The global death toll from the virus has reached almost 500 with around 25,000 infected. The Department of Health and Social Care has said 468 people in the UK have now tested negative for coronavirus, with two positive cases.