County Durham and Darlington – Visiting restrictions

Due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases we have made
the extremely difficult decision to temporarily suspend visiting to
adult inpatient wards within County Durham and Darlington NHS
Foundation Trust, effective immediately.

Restricting visiting is not an easy decision, but we need to act
to help protect our patients and our workforce.

We very much recognise the many benefits visitors can bring to a
patient’s care and wellbeing; but we must also maintain our duty of
care to protect our own people and all patients by minimising the
risk of the spread of infection. We know this is very difficult for
loved ones. We have iPads available on our wards so patients can be
visited virtually and messages and photographs can also be shared
through our popular ‘Stay in Touch’ scheme.

We do have some exceptions to visiting restrictions in place
which are listed below:

  • Patients receiving end of life care

  • Women having antenatal scans will be able to be accompanied by
    their chosen support person

  • Women in labour will be able to have one birthing partner

  • A daily postnatal visit by chosen support person

  • One parent or carer will be able to accompany children in our
    emergency departments, children’s wards and neonatal units

  • Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism and
    those who require a carer

  • Where visiting will support discharge or the mental wellbeing
    of a patient this may also be arranged at the discretion of the
    ward manager/nurse in charge


  • are encouraged to be double-vaccinated at least 14 days prior
    to the visit and where possible have also had their COVID-19
    booster vaccine

  • will be required to produce evidence of a negative lateral flow
    test undertaken on the same day, prior to the visit, such as a
    dated photograph of the test strip or screenshot from the NHS app.
    This includes resident parents who will have to undertake a lateral
    flow test every day

  • Visits can only take place by appointment with the Ward clerk
    and will be limited to one hour per patient per day.

We will continue to monitor and consider this position to look
at the possible, safe reintroduction of visiting and how this would
be managed. Current restrictions will remain in place while
community prevalence, hospital admissions and outbreaks remain
high. Please be kind to our colleagues when they are making
arrangements with you, they are following our guidelines to help
protect all patients.

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