Patients still testing positive for COVID-19 are being sent home from St Mary’s as the hospital bids to open up bed space.

Due to the significant and sustained pressures, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has had to make difficult decisions to prioritize patients who are in more need of emergency care.

In recent weeks, health leaders across Hampshire and the Island have issued an urgent plea to residents to only seek help in an emergency, amid a perfect storm of rising pressures. Pressures included an increase in people being treated in emergency departments and almost every hospital bed in the region was full as patients who could leave the hospital had nowhere to go.

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Those decisions meant people were being turned away at the emergency department and directed to more appropriate services where required. This ensured patients could be discharged quickly to free up beds and COVID-positive patients could be discharged if they had received all the acute care they needed.

The move to discharge COVID-positive patients falls in line with recent government guidance when it stood down infection control precautions. They can be sent home or to a care setting, with the appropriate isolation advice.

Now, figures from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust show between 1st April and 3rd May it discharged 65 patients who were clinically fit but who had received a positive COVID test up to 10 days prior. Of those discharged, 54 went back to their usual place of residence, including their homes, residential or nursing homes, and 11 were discharged to a temporary residence or specialist care setting.

The Trust has asked families and carers to support their loved ones in the short term.

The health body is asking people who think they need urgent or emergency care to phone 111 or visit 111 online first which will then direct them to the service most suited for their needs.

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