We are going through a very difficult period as far as our hospital is concerned.
On the one hand we want to provide optimum high quality care to the community, but on the other hand we have to take all reasonable precautions to avoid putting our staff in danger.
We have just about enough staff to run the hospital properly. This is important to understand because staff can become unwell and be unable to work, and if a critical number are unwell at the same time, we will not be able to provide any care at all, let alone high quality care.
I realise that when you come to the hospital as a patient, you do not want to jeopardise your chance to have surgery for any reason, sometimes after having waited more than 12 months.
It is natural to feel aggrieved on being repeatedly questioned about your vaccination status, potential contact with COVID patients or about symptoms of COVID.
The nurse or doctor asking you these questions carry an enormous responsibility.Dr Krishna Rajesh
Some may feel the urge to selectively withhold information that they feel is not relevant, such as visiting some exposure site for example, in order that their surgery can go ahead. Please do not do this. Tell us and let us decide whether it is relevant or not.
The nurse or doctor asking you these questions carry an enormous responsibility. The relevant information that they get from you, the patient, will directly affect theatre staff, doctors and wardsmen who are there to make sure you have a safe journey during your treatment.
These are dedicated people trying to help you while putting themselves in harm's way.
It is your responsibility to make sure that while we are trying to help you, we do not get exposed to potential infection.
In each theatre there will be six or seven people involved in your care and if we are exposed to COVID and have to isolate, the system will buckle because we do not have surplus staff like big city hospitals to replace them.
Sometimes just one or two key people off sick will bring operating lists to a halt so it is not difficult to imagine what will happen if many people have to isolate at home because of exposure to COVID.
This may not directly affect your care if it is a day surgery procedure and you go home, but this will definitely impact on the care of inpatients, especially the elderly and frail and those waiting for urgent surgery.
You must tell the very first person who asks these questions, or even if they forget to ask in the rush, the nurse or doctor in emergency, the screening person at the main entrance or the nurse admitting you to day surgery.
That is the only way we can safely provide care to our patients while protecting ourselves.
If you leave it till later to tell someone, you could already have contaminated several areas of the hospital if you have the infection.
We need to know early whether we should wear more protection than usual and we can do that only if you tell us the whole story.