THOUSANDS of pounds has been invested to protect Southampton doctors from the risk of coronavirus.

An investment of £25,500 in equipment at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Southampton will help to protect ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctors and patients from the risk of COVID infection.

The new equipment, called a ‘telepack’, combines a flexible endoscope with an integral light and camera connected to an HD monitor.

The endoscope is introduced through a patient’s nose or mouth by a clinician in full personal protective equipment.

Once deployed the clinician can withdraw to a safe distance away from potential coughs or sneezes from the patient.

The camera and high definition screen give the clinician a clearer view while wearing eye protection than they would normally have if looking through a regular endoscope with eye protection.

This makes the new equipment a vital aid to the early and accurate diagnosis of ENT conditions.

Mr Christopher Waller, Medical Director at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Southampton, said: “We are always keen to invest in technology which has a clear benefit to patients, and this is a good example.

"It protects both the patient and the clinician while at the same time helping us in making accurate assessments and hence diagnoses.”

As well as protecting both patients and clinicians, the system gives the option of a flexible endoscope delivery via the nose.

This makes the procedure more comfortable as it is less likely to stimulate the gag reflex than an endoscope passed through the mouth.