Visiting opened up further at hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has announced a further easing of the restrictions on visiting at its hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The ongoing impact of Covid-19 means that there cannot be a complete relaxation of restrictions for people coming into hospitals, with the trust retaining both a booking system and the requirement for patients to have nominated visitors.

From Monday, March 21, there will be additional hourly slots for visitors on all general adult wards between 10am and 7pm and each patient will now be allowed two nominated visitors, who can visit on separate occasions or together if more convenient.

Due to the need for enhanced infection prevention measures, visiting will remain restricted on surgical wards, but for patients who have been in hospital for 72 hours or more, one nominated visitor will be permitted to book a slot. Those wishing to visit loved ones should check arrangements with the ward.

Throughout the pandemic, the trust has maintained access for visitors in a number of situations, such as the children’s unit, for birthing partners and for end-of-life care, and there will be no changes in these circumstances.

Marion Dickson, Northumbria Healthcare’s executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “We know that people are looking ahead and hoping to move forward as society opens up after an extremely difficult time for us all, but it is worth remembering that Covid-19 has not gone away and that hospitals contain some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“For that reason, we cannot get rid of all of the restrictions we have introduced in the past two years immediately. Having said that, we have always recognised the importance to patients of being able to have contact with their loved ones and have committed to keeping under review any restrictions we have imposed.

“That is why we are announcing this further easing of the rules around visiting, enabling more people to see their loved ones in hospital, while maintaining enough control to ensure that we protect all of our patients and our staff.”

There will no longer be a requirement for visitors to present evidence of a negative lateral flow test, but people should not come to hospital to visit a loved one if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 or if they are a household/close contact of someone who has tested positive.

In line with national guidance, anyone coming into a hospital or other clinical site is still required to wear a face-covering and wash their hands. In the case of visitors to wards, they must wear the required PPE as set out by staff and follow any additional guidance.

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