Wiganers urged not to avoid hospital due to worrying about coronavirus

The doctor leading Wigan’s fight against Covid-19 has urged people not to avoid seeking treatment because of coronavirus fears.

Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 10:20 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 11:42 am
Dr Sanjay Arya

Dr Sanjay Arya, a consultant cardiologist and medical director at the Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust (WWL), says some Wiganers suffering from serious medical conditions have been delaying seeking urgent treatment, because they are worried about contracting the virus while in hospital.

Dr Arya has been tasked with leading WWL’s response to the pandemic.

While stressing that it was important to stay at home and comply with social distancing rules as much as possible, he today insisted that anyone requiring urgent medical treatment of any kind should not be afraid of coming to hospital, adding that the Trust was doing everything in its power to protect its staff and patients from contracting the virus –including making sure that anyone with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 is treated well away from other patients.

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Dr Arya said: “I am seeing people reluctant to come in with life-threatening conditions.

“People are so scared [of Covid-19] that those with heart attacks, strokes, cancer patients and pregnant ladies, are reluctant to come to hospital, and in doing so are causing themselves harm.

“We have healthcare professionals working very hard, knowing how infectious the virus is.

“We are making sure they are all provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) so that they do not endanger their lives and are able to provide the best care for our patients who need us in this crisis.”

He went on: “I would like to urge population that if anyone of them feels they are critically ill, whether due to Covid-19, or whether due to a heart attack or a stroke, for example, to seek urgent medical help.

“We have made sure that the hospital is divided and prepared so that those who have non-coronavirus illnesses have special provisions, for them to be managed completely separately.

“It is important that these patients seek help.

“They should not feel that coming to the hospital is dangerous, but we are seeing that patients are reluctant to come.

“Staying in the house is very important, but if you are feeling very ill you should call 111, explain your symptoms and they will give you the appropriate advice.”

Dr Arya added: “For example, pregnant ladies, I would want to reassure them that they should also seek help if they feel they are unwell.

“We have provisions for our pregnant women to be admitted in an area where there are no coronavirus patients.

“They will be fully protected.

“It is our responsibility to look after them in a safe environment.

“We have to continue making sure all our patients who have cancer or need urgent care, the hospital is continuing to provide that. They should not feel that their care is going to be compromised.”

Dr Arya also issued a heartfelt message of thanks to his doctors, nurses, therapists, and non-medical staff across the Trust, as well as GPs and care workers.

“They are all going well beyond their hours and beyond their capacity to make sure our population is well looked after.

“Our chief executive, in particular, has assured us that every possible bit of help will be provided to the staff so they can look after our patients well.

“I would also like to thank our GPs and their colleagues who are working hard to keep patients out of hospital where necessary.”