As England enters national lockdown tomorrow, the NHS in Gloucestershire has reviewed the arrangements for visiting in the county’s hospitals to ensure it is compliant with the new lockdown requirements whilst enabling those for whom visiting is especially important to remain in touch with family and loved ones.
Professor Steve Hams, Director of Quality and Chief Nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While we recognise the value that visiting has to the recovery of our patients, we also need to ensure we comply with the new national requirements to limit movement and have therefore made the further restrictions to visiting. We hope our patients and visitors will appreciate that these decisions are not taken lightly, and are always taken in the best interests of the people we care for, the people who work in and visit our facilities and our communities.”
John Trevains, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Since the earlier part of the year, we have introduced digital visiting options, such as iPads for video calls, at hospitals in the county and we encourage visitors to take advantage of those options, as well as keep in touch with their loved ones by phone, in the first instance. We will always ensure that if there is a particular need for a visit, such as on compassionate grounds, this will be supported on a case by case basis.”
The Trusts also ask all visitors, as well as patients attending appointments, to wear a face covering and comply with social distancing and hand hygiene guidance as advised by our staff. During a period of self-isolation, visiting is not allowed under any circumstances in accordance with the national regulations.
It is important that people of all ages still attend medical appointments and patients can be reassured that, due to careful infection prevention and control procedures, transmission rates in our hospitals remain very low. Those attending appointments are encouraged to attend alone whenever possible, to reduce the number of people in hospital buildings.
The restrictions come into effect from Thursday 5 November.
All visitors are reminded:
- When visiting, please ensure you wear a face covering at all times
- If you have a medical exemption for wearing a face covering, please consider whether your medical condition makes you more vulnerable to infection if visiting and use digital options where possible
- Social distancing and hand washing remain very important everywhere – particularly in hospitals
The updated restrictions will apply to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) and seven community hospitals in the county:
- The Dilke (Cinderford)
- North Cotswolds (Moreton-in-Marsh)
- The Vale (Dursley)
They are also applicable to the county’s mental health and learning disability inpatient units:
- Wotton Lawn (Gloucester)
- Charlton Lane (Cheltenham)
- Berkeley House (Stroud)
- Laurel House (Cheltenham)
- Honeybourne (Cheltenham)
Restrictions from 5 November
Adult in-patient settings (including mental health and learning disability inpatient units)
- General visiting to adult wards is suspended during the national lockdown period.
- By arrangement with the nurse-in-charge, visiting is allowed for adults who require support in special circumstances by an established carer who is a household member or a member of their support bubble as described below.
- Patients with dementia, delirium or cognitive impairment that require support from an established carer in accordance with the principles of John’s campaign.
- Patients with mental health needs who require support from an established carer.
- Patients with autism or learning disabilities who require support from an established carer.
- Visiting is encouraged for those receiving bad news or at the end of life. This should be limited to household members or members of the support bubble. There is no time limit but limited to two individuals.
- Visiting to Coronavirus Wards or to patients exposed to Coronavirus is not permitted. It is expected that the majority of those wishing to visit a patient with confirmed Coronavirus would be self-isolating. However, if any requests are made to visit patients with Coronavirus, they must come through the nurse in charge of the ward, who will take advice from the Infection Prevention & Control Team.
Maternity (only applies to Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
All those attending appointments and anyone accompanying them must wear a face covering and comply with social distancing and hand hygiene guidance as advised by staff.
- Antenatal and Labour
- 1 birth partner can accompany you during certain antenatal appointments, scans and Maternity Triage appointments
- This accompanying person must be a household member or a member of a woman’s support bubble
- 1 person may accompany you during the induction of labour for 2 hours from the start of induction and then once labour is established (they may have to leave in between)
- 1 birth partner may accompany you during labour
- By arrangement with the midwife-in-charge, those that require support in special circumstances such as mental health needs, learning disability or other support needs may be permitted additional support in labour by an established carer who is a household member or a member of their support bubble
- In special circumstances, a professional involved in your care may also accompany the person in labour – speak to your midwife about these arrangements.
- In the event that your birth partner is self-isolating or has Coronavirus, they cannot attend your appointments or labour, so we suggest that you choose an alternative partner who you prepare for this by bringing them into your support bubble or household
- Postnatal visiting
- 1 birth partner can visit you each day after you have given birth for a maximum of 2 hours by arrangement with the midwife-in-charge. Visiting times will be allocated by the ward.
Children’s Wards and Neonatal Intensive Care (only applies to Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust)
- Visiting is restricted to parents, carers or guardians only and must be household members or a member of the support bubble.
- Only 2 visitors are allowed per child at any one time. This should be the same 2 visitors on each occasion
- No siblings or other family members should visit
- Only 2 visitors are permitted on the neonatal ward at any one time, this should be parents or guardians only; if parents, both can visit at the same time
Accompanying someone to an Emergency Department, MIIU or other urgent care attendance
Patients can be accompanied in the Emergency Department or Minor Injury and Illness Unit waiting room until they have seen the triage nurse at which point the visitor will be asked to leave if required to do so.
Accompanying someone to an outpatient appointment
Patients can be accompanied to an outpatient appointment if there is a need to do so such as supporting with impaired mobility, cognitive impairment or other needs.