Patients on most wards at West Suffolk Hospital will be able to receive visitors again from this Monday, June 29.
West Suffolk Foundation Trust (WSFT) closed its doors to the general public on March 25 after the introduction of the lockdown.
But as a result of the continuing fall in coronavirus cases, and the Government’s recent relaxation of restrictions, many hospitals have begun reinstating visiting.
On Wednesday last week Ward G8 of the hospital in Bury St Edmunds started allowing patients one visitor a day for an hour as part of a trial scheme.
The trial proved successful, and as a result it is being rolled-out across most of the rest of the hospital site from the start of next week.
Patients in the following non-COVID inpatient wards will be allowed one visitor per day for an hour – F3, F4, F5, F6, F8, F9, F10, F14, G1, G3, G5, G7 and G8.
Visitors will also be permitted to see patients on Rosemary Ward at Newmarket Community Hospital and the Kings Suite at Glastonbury Court on the same basis.
WSFT’s Chief Nurse, Sue Wilkinson, said: “We are very pleased to be able to allow visitors into much of the hospital once again. It has been incredibly difficult for patients, their loved ones and our staff since the lockdown was introduced.
“Safety has always been our paramount concern, and we had to make sure we didn’t rush the reintroduction of visiting arrangements. That is why we initially decided to allow visits to G8 only on a trial basis to see how patients, visitors and staff coped with what we had put in place.
“Fortunately, everything has worked really well and the arrangements can now be rolled out across a wider area.”
The new system allows patients on the selected wards one visitor per day for one hour.
Loved ones have the option of an afternoon or evening visit, but only one per day can be used.
This approach has been adopted to help maintain social distancing and ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff.
If you would like to visit go to http://www.wsh.nhs.uk/VisitingInformation and call the appropriate ward to find out at which visiting slots are available.
“We understand families often want to visit people in hospital as a group, but we can’t allow that under the present circumstances,” Sue added. “It will be up to family and friends to arrange amongst themselves who is going to see the patient each day. Our Keeping in Touch service remains available via our website for people who wish to send a card or a knitted heart to a loved one, or organise a video call.”
Some people will still not be permitted to visit the hospital despite the relaxation of restrictions.
· anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus, or who is currently isolating for 14 days due to exposure to someone who is;
· anyone who is feeling unwell in any way;
· anyone who has been sent guidance to ‘shield’ or is within a ‘high risk group’, or
· anyone under the age of 16.
All visitors are required to wear face coverings and are politely asked to bring their own to help the hospital preserve its own stocks for staff.
Visitors should also be aware that parking charges will be levied from Monday, although disabled visitors with blue badges can park for free.
Disabled visitors using Car Park A should visit the car park office to validate their free parking.
Those parking in Car Park D should speak to the car park team via the intercom and follow instructions.