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Health chiefs get update on Covid-19 work

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NHS bosses this week received an update on the continuing work in the region to address the challenge of Covid-19.

Members of the health board met virtually on Monday and were briefed on new developments, including the move towards the introduction of ‘Test, Trace, Isolate and Support’ – in line with national directions.

Chief executive Jeff Ace described the scale of work to implement this approach locally – explaining that this will involve the recruitment of new staff and the introduction of new IT solutions. He noted that the testing system in Dumfries and Galloway had significantly expanded, and has now been joined by mobile testing delivered by the military for people over 65 and non-health and social care key workers.

It was also revealed that a relatively small number of Covid-positive patients were currently in the critical care unit at DGRI and that there had been an increase in activity around non-Covid matters, with a rise in attendance at emergency departments.

Chief operating officer Julie White provided an update on work aimed at anticipating and managing the future potential demand on services generated by coronavirus, including availability of beds and stuff, as well as medication supplies and PPE. And she also confirmed that testing has been a ‘real focus’, explaining that it has increased in care homes, in line with instructions from the Scottish Government.

Furthermore, she explained that work is taking place to see what increase can be delivered around elective work, with a focus on using NHS Near Me or telephone appointments.

CAMHS core mental health service was cited as an example of a service which had continued to operate, with an increase in referrals to the crisis team for young people, particularly around anxiety and stress at this time. In addition, work has been done to bolster the arrangements for ‘Home Teams’, which will be able to provide health and social care support more directly within communities. The meeting finished with updates from finance director Katy Lewis, who noted that, despite considerable challenges, a break even position had been able to be achieved for NHS Dumfries and Galloway in the financial year 2019/20.

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