Dear patients and professional colleagues,
I hope that you are all keeping well.
The purpose of this message is to highlight some changes to the clinic visit that we have made in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. This is primarily for the safety of our patients and staff. Just as your visit to a supermarket is different now, compared to before lock down, your visit to us will likewise be different, and please be reassured by this. This is in everyone’s interest. Things to note:
- Patients arriving at the Clinic will be given a sterile face mask, asked questions about current health and asked to sanitise their hands.
- Only the patient will be allowed to enter the London Clinic Eye Centre. We have to maintain social distancing where at all possible. Whilst we have ample space, this is jeopardised if patients are accompanied by relatives, partners or friends. This rule currently applies to the vast majority of private and NHS hospitals. Relatives who come by car will be asked to wait in the car. The only exception to this rule is designated carers. If there are concerns or problems with this then please let us know in advance of any visit.
- Rest assured that strict social distancing rules are applied in our waiting rooms. We’re fortunate in that even on our floor we have 4 separate areas for patients – although with appointments more spaced out, it’s highly unlikely they would ever all be used.
My team and I have redesigned and streamlined the patient journey in order to reduce the waiting time by:
- Minimising essential tests – for example we will not usually dilate patients’ pupils. Where possible, we will avoid performing visual fields when another test will do. For example, with the OCT scan, we can broadly maintain the 2-meter separation rule, so I will be relying more on these tests. We have a new eye pressure machine which is quicker, more comfortable and minimises close-up examination time (Icare tonometer). Where possible, I and my optometrist, Avni, will avoid the slit-lamp test as this involves closer doctor/patient contact (although patients are protected by a plastic screen for when it’s necessary). We will also minimise the use of drops.
- Booking your follow-up appointments, any further tests or treatments, and invoicing will not be done “face to face” and we would kindly ask patients to contact our administration staff via telephone or email. My practice manager, Sandrine, and Anabela are all working at home but will be pleased to help you. The practice is (thankfully) totally electronic and we all have secure access to everyone’s notes and accounts.
- For some routine follow up appointments, we are asking patients to come into the London Clinic for pressure readings and scans, and I will follow this up with a video consultation on another day.
Please rest assured that coming in to see us is as safe as it possibly can be. We started small clinics this week and they went very well. We are hoping to re-start surgery towards the end of June (depending on the release of operating theatres from the NHS, who leased them during the pandemic).
Things will be different for a while, and I look forward to the day when our waiting rooms are full of chatter again, and we have the whole team working together in the Clinic. But for now our priority is to manage our patients’ care as safely as possible, and I’m confident that we’re set up to do that.
All the very best and keep safe.