During the COVID-19 Lockdown, NHS and private hospitals stopped treating people with varicose veins and their complications. That was the right decision. NHS hospitals successfully prepared for the wave of sick patients during the pandemic and private hospitals were contracted to help. On 21st March, NHS England block booked almost the entirety of the private hospital sector’s services, facilities and nearly 20,000 clinical staff to cope with the surge of COVID-19 patients under an unprecedented deal.
As a result, nearly all non-urgent medical treatments stopped in the UK.
In theory, private clinics regulated by the Care Quality Commission were exempt from the Lockdown Rules, however on 20th March, The VeinCare Centre decided to close temporarily as did many other private clinics. That’s because, in general, vein conditions are not urgent. Although varicose veins, varicose eczema, phlebitis and leg ulcers are potentially serious health conditions, they are very rarely urgent. In addition, most people can easily recognise that they have a leg vein problem and they can often manage it themselves – at least in the early stages and in the short term.
But things are about to change. We are certainly over the worst of the pandemic and although there is a risk of a spike in COVID-19 as lockdown eases, we at the VeinCare Centre believe that we can begin to make plans to safely provide vein treatments. We will reopen the VeinCare Centre to our patients on 1st September and our office will be open to telephone calls and enquiries on Tuesday 18th August. Those of you who had appointments for consultations and treatment that had to be cancelled abruptly when we went into lockdown and those of you who have enquired during lockdown about consultations will be given priority appointments. So please do not worry and don’t feel that you have to start calling us the moment we reopen. We will have specially-reserved appointments for you.
Of course, at least initially, we will have to provide our services to you a little differently to ensure that we are COVID-secure. The advice is changing all the time, but it is likely that we only have one patient in the clinic at a time, that we will be wearing surgical masks and PPE and that we will have enhanced cleaning and disinfection routines. I will be posting more information nearer the time to explain exactly how the “patient journey” will be modified.
When you make appointments, clear advice will be given about what you can expect and how it will work when you arrive. This advice will be available on the telephone, by email and it will be posted our website.
The VeinCare Team has always provided a high-quality, safe and friendly environment for our patients and that will certainly continue. During early August the VeinCare Team will undertake a deep clean of the clinic, review and modify our infection prevention procedures and check that everything is ready in preparation to welcome you.
Over the last few days there have been examples of reckless behaviour by a minority. It is understandable that as lockdown is relaxed, some people will chose to ignore the guidance on social distancing. Fortunately, this is rare and I am optimistic that we will not see a second wave of COVID-19 in the South West. Nevertheless, I am watching the situation carefully but I remain confident that we will reopen as planned.
If you would like more information about varicose vein conditions and our treatments, please get in contact and one of our advisors will be happy to help you when reopen. Register your interest now to secure a priority appointment.
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PS: Until we reopen, if you have an urgent problem with your veins or you are worried about any medical condition, remember that the NHS is there for you and please contact the NHS 111