Belfast Trust is working with General Practitioner colleagues (GPs) to best respond to the increasing demand placed on the system by COVID-19. These are unprecedented times and we are having to work quickly to adapt to the challenges posed by the outbreak.
New arrangements are being put in place to help ensure there is sufficient capacity in our system to deal with the anticipated increase in demand for people contracting COVID-19.
Belfast Trust has already designated the Mater Hospital as the Belfast Trust COVID-19 hospital and, as of Monday 30th March, Beech Hall Health and Wellbeing Centre will be re-designated as a COVID-19 assessment centre in the community. It is envisaged that the Trust and GPs will work to establish more of these centres as required across the city.
All other services provided at Beech Hall will be temporarily stood down.
The centre will provide services for:
- Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 and who are at higher risk of complications
Those described at having moderate or severe symptoms and who require clinical assessment
It will be for those who do not meet the criteria for Emergency Department assessment or inpatient admission.
- Attendance at the centre will be by appointment only. This will be done through triage over the telephone or Skype, or by referral from another Health and Social care practitioner. It will allow primary (GPs) and secondary care (Trust staff) to work together in a suitable clinical environment and plan what is best for the individual in terms of their treatment and any additional care they need.
The centre will initially be open from 8am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday. It will be staffed by both Health and Social Care Trust staff and General Practitioner colleagues. Some staff at Beech Hall will be redeployed to other facilities in the Trust or may help support the COVID-19 centre. This will be negotiated on an individual basis with each staff member and their management in partnership with trade union colleagues in line with our Organisational Management of Change Framework and Guidelines on the Emergency Redeployment/Relocation of Staff during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Trust looks forward to reinstating all the services once provided at Beech Hall when this service is no longer needed. We need to prioritise the health and safety of our population.