The Trust has eased restrictions to allow visitors back into its hospitals. For each patient, one visitor is allowed to visit for one hour, once a day from Monday to Friday.

A named, designated visitor, usually next of kin, will be identified when the patient is admitted. Ward staff will contact the named visitor in advance to let them know their one-hour visiting slot.

Exceptions to these rules are in place for those supporting a person with a learning disability, autism, or cognitive impairment such as dementia. Also, with mental health problems and with communication challenges. This includes hearing or visual impairment. Or for whom English is not their first language.

Exceptions are also in place for those visiting patients receiving end-of-life care, visiting the children’s wards and visiting the spinal unit. Also, those who are supporting a person in the maternity unit.

A designated supporting person is invited to attend ALL maternity appointments if they can provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 lateral flow test. A second birth supporter may also attend in labour provided they too can provide evidence of negative COVID-19 lateral flow test. Full details about maternity restrictions are available on our website.

Other exceptional circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Wards will remain closed to visitors where more vulnerable patients at higher risk from infection are being cared for. For example in cancer care wards. Wards may also need to be closed to visitors at any time if there is an increased risk of infection, in accordance with Trust infection prevention and control measures. Designated visitors will be advised of the most up to date information.

The Trust will continue to offer virtual visits via video calls and its letter to a loved one service when visits are not possible. Patients are expected to attend outpatient appointments unaccompanied. Similarly, patients attending A&E are also expected to attend alone unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Karen Bonner, Chief Nurse at the Trust, said:

We’re pleased to welcome visitors back to our hospitals. We understand how hard it has been especially during the last wave. Family and friends play an important role in supporting patients during their stay in hospital. So, we’re very happy to be in a position to ease restrictions once again.

However, we will still have very strict measures in place to keep our patients and visitors safe. It is extremely important that all who attend follow our guidelines to wear a facemask, keep space between themselves and others and wash and sanitise their hands thoroughly. We would like to thank everyone in advance for their continued cooperation, patience and understanding.

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