04/03/2021 | Press releases

Changes to visiting arrangements

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is changing visiting arrangements at its hospitals.

It comes as cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) fall and as the Government’s first stages of easing lockdown arrangements come into place on Monday 8 March.

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive at East Suffolk and North East Essex Foundation Trust, said: “Our teams are working incredibly hard to keep everyone at our hospitals safe and to provide compassionate and high-quality care for all.

“We understand how important visiting is when someone you care about is in hospital and we believe these new visiting arrangements strike the right balance of safety and compassion.

“We thank everyone in our communities for their continuing support at this difficult time”.

These visiting arrangements will be in place from Monday 8 March:

General wards

  • One visitor (ideally from the same household or support bubble as the patient) may visit a ward for one hour a day after the patient has been in hospital for 24 hours. Visiting slots must be booked with the ward team and we ask that this visitor remains consistent and is the same for each visit. Under current Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines children are not able to visit our wards, apart from in exceptional / compassionate circumstances

Children’s Services

  • One parent/carer may stay with a child in hospital and parents/carers within the same support bubble may substitute each other

Outpatients

  • Patients cannot be accompanied, unless they are a child, vulnerable adult or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances. This is so we can maintain social distancing in both our waiting rooms and clinical areas

Emergency Department

  • Patients cannot be accompanied, unless they are a child, vulnerable adult or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances. This is so we can maintain social distancing in both our waiting rooms and clinical areas

Maternity

  • One support person may accompany someone in established labour. The support person may attend from the point of admission to the labour ward until after a baby is born, and until the patient is either transferred to a postnatal ward where booked visiting times will apply, or they are discharged home – whichever happens first
  • One person (ideally from the same household or support bubble as the patient) may visit antenatal and postnatal wards for one hour a day. Visiting slots must be pre-booked with ward teams in advance. We ask that this visitor remains consistent and is the same for each visit. Under current Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines children are not able to visit our wards, apart from in exceptional / compassionate circumstances
  • One adult can attend 12 and 20 week scans and fetal medicine scans with someone who is pregnant at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals

More information about maternity services is available here.


Critical Care

  • Visiting to the unit will be at the discretion of the nurse in charge

End of life visiting

  • At least one visitor will be welcome for patients receiving end of life care. More than one visitor per patient will be considered where social distancing on the ward can be maintained and it has been agreed with the clinical team

Bereavement suite

  • Visiting will be supported – the maximum number of visitors attending an appointment is two (to maintain social distancing in the viewing room and waiting areas). There is still no requirement to attend the hospital to collect a medical certificate of Cause of Death as this process is being managed electronically between the hospital and the Registration Service

Visiting and attendance at appointments in exceptional/compassionate circumstances, as well as carer responsibilities, also continue. Specific visiting guidance is here for carers.

Staying in contact with families and loved ones

The Trust’s letters to loved ones service is still running and teams will continue to use iPads and mobile phones to help people keep in touch where face-to-face visiting is not possible.

Help us stop the spread

ESNEFT is asking everyone to help stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) by

  • Following the national rules of lockdown (see gov.uk)
  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Following social distancing guidance

Our hospitals

This guidance covers Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital and Bluebird Lodge, Ipswich.

We are here to help patients

Mr Hulme said: “Our hospital teams are working hard to keep everyone safe and it’s important for our patients to attend their booked appointments and surgery so we can continue caring for them.”

The Colchester and Ipswich Hospital Emergency Departments and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Colchester Hospital remain open to patients who need urgent and emergency help.

If you have a health concern that’s not an emergency, but you’re thinking about coming to A&E, call NHS 111 first.

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