Non-urgent patients and visitors will be turned away from Northern Beaches Hospital without a recent COVID-19 test.

Northern Beaches Hospital has announced that from Monday, 20 September, all visitors and patients requiring non-urgent treatment will be required to show results of a COVID-19 test ‘at least 3-days prior’ to the appointment. Despite the language used, this presumably means a result less than 72-hours-old.

No visitors have been permitted for general patients at Northern Beaches Hospital since 26 June, but the new requirements will apply to those who are still permitted, such as support partners for women giving birth.

An email sent to patients that is available via the Northern Beaches Hospital website details the new requirements. The new policy for a COVID-19 negative test will apply regardless of vaccination status to; inpatients arriving for surgery, outpatient appointments, pathology tests, radiology, appointments at doctors suites, maternity support partners, chaperones, carers and approved visitors.

In addition, all patients and visitors will need to complete a screening questionnaire, which can be completed online prior to arrival. People who require regular visits, such as dialysis and maternity patients and their support partners will be required to undertake surveillance tests once per week. Patients conducting routine testing are not required to isolate following a test.

The hospital is encouraging patients to test three days prior to an appointment to allow time for results to be returned. If a result is not available, the patient will not be admitted and the appointment will be rescheduled.

Despite broader talk of easing restrictions, the tightened protocol is required because of expected pressures on the health system.

“The next several weeks are expected to be the most challenging in hospitals across Sydney. Our Clinical Advisory Group have taken the advice of infection control experts to tighten controls and reduce risk of COVID-19 in the hospital,” said the hospital email.

Testing will be required for everyone, including children and babies, with the hospital directing parents to the Northern Beaches Hospital Medical Centre, which offers testing for children and babies.

Patients requiring urgent treatment will continue to be admitted via the emergency department.

Image: NSW Health

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