Visitors to all ESNEFT hospital wards urged to wear surgical face masks

All visitors to wards in hospitals run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) must wear surgical face masks from Wednesday 28 September.

The move is being introduced to protect patients and keep them safe after an increase in cases of COVID-19 in ESNEFT hospitals.

Giles Thorpe is the Trust’s Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control.

He said: “Sadly we have seen an increase in the number of patients who have COVID-19, so we are having to enhance infection prevention and control measures in our wards and departments.

“That is why we are asking visitors to do their bit again now and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our hospitals by wearing a surgical face mask when they visit.

“We appreciate face masks are no longer required in many areas of our day to day lives, but our hospitals are not the same as a supermarket or a restaurant. Many of our patients are already extremely unwell and could be at higher risk of serious illness if they pick up COVID-19.

“As healthcare professionals it is our responsibility to keep them safe, and visitors can play their part in that too.”

Visitors must wear a surgical face mask during their visit and not a fabric face covering from home. They are available in dispensers at all main hospital entrances, or you can ask a member of ward staff to provide one for you.

ESNEFT Chief Nurse Giles Thorpe

 

Giles added: “If you cannot wear a surgical face mask, we can offer you a visor as an alternative.

“Please speak to a member of our ward staff if you are unable to wear any form of face protection. They will be able to help you visit your loved one safely.

“We know how important visiting is for our patients and the people who care about them. That’s why we do not want to restrict our more open visiting policy, but I must ask that if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or you feel unwell in any way, please stay at home, and do not visit our hospitals.”

This guidance, which comes into effect from Wednesday 28 September from 10am, applies to Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, Clacton Hospital and Fryatt Hospital in Harwich.

It covers all general adult wards, including maternity, and children’s wards.

 

Could you have COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms may not be limited to just a fever, new continuous cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste. The official list of UK Health Security Agency symptoms also includes the following signs of infection:

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • aching body
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

 

A reminder about ESNEFT’s visiting policy

Two visitors may visit most adult inpatient and critical care wards between 10am and 7pm. Some exceptions may apply – please double check with the team/nurse in charge of the ward you plan to visit. Visiting hours exclude protected mealtimes. We kindly ask visitors to check these times before visiting. More information about visiting, including specific information for maternity and children’s services and visiting patients in exceptional circumstances, is on the ESNEFT website.

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