Visiting restrictions eased at hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

As of Monday, February 7, visiting will be permitted once again on most wards, but it is important to check with individual wards for their local arrangements as the situation can be changeable.

It also remains the case that there are a number of conditions in place, with each patient permitted to have one nominated visitor who must present evidence of a negative lateral flow test when coming in.

This means a return to the arrangements in place prior to Saturday, January 8, when Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust reluctantly had to limit visiting to certain specific circumstances to cope with the latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, in common with neighbouring trusts across the North East.

Marion Dickson, the trust’s executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “The safety of our patients and staff is always our top priority and infection prevention and control is a vital part of that, which is why we reluctantly had to limit visiting further last month. However, we also recognise how important it is for patients to have contact with their loved ones, which is why we said we would review the situation on a regular basis.

“We believe we are at a point now where we are in a more positive direction of travel in relation to the Omicron wave of Covid-19, as evidenced by community transmission rates, admissions to our hospitals and our staff absence rates. This means that the majority of wards have now reopened to visitors, but there are exceptions and the situation is changeable, so please check with the ward for their position.

“In addition, we still require everyone coming to our sites to continue to wear a face covering, wash their hands and maintain their distance from others. Visitors are also required to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test.”

Wards will allow no more than three visitors in at any one time, so visitors must be nominated by patients and must book a slot in advance.

Visitors must have no symptoms of Covid-19 and must take a lateral flow test in advance of their visit and bring evidence of this with them, either an NHS email/text or their testing strip.  Lateral flow testing kits are freely available online at www.gov.uk and from local pharmacies.

The appropriate PPE must be worn and other guidance followed by those that are able to visit. If you have had recent contact with someone who has tested positive, it is not advisable to visit.

Patients and visitors are also being reminded that the hand, face, space measures will continue to apply in all Northumbria Healthcare settings, despite the easing of national restrictions through the removal of the plan B measures from Thursday, January 27.

Anyone coming into hospitals and other Northumbria Healthcare sites in Northumberland and North Tyneside must wear a face covering, wash their hands and continue to socially distance.

These safety measures will continue to apply across healthcare settings in the North East and North Cumbria, including pharmacies, GP surgeries, clinics and on patient transport.

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