21/10/2020 | Press releases

Visiting our hospital wards

At Colchester Hospital
General visiting restrictions at Colchester Hospital are being temporarily reintroduced from 10am on Thursday, 22 October.

This is a precautionary safety measure. It is part of our infection control plans and is also in response to the rising number of cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.

No visitors will be able to visit the wards at Colchester Hospital, except in the following situations:


Adult inpatient wards (including Critical Care Unit)

  • One named person can book to visit a patient for 45 minutes a day who has been in hospital for more than 48 hours. We ask that this visitor is the same, named person for the duration of a patient’s stay and that they are ideally from their household or support bubble, where possible


  • Two parents / carers can visit a child who is on our Children’s Ward, but we ask that they don’t come at the same time


  • A woman’s birthing partner will be able to visit her for 45 minutes each day that she is in hospital. They do not have to wait 48 hours before they visit, but we ask that this visitor is the same, named person for the duration of the woman’s stay and that they are ideally from her household or support bubble, where possible

Any pre-booked appointments will be honoured by our ward teams.

All of the above applies at Ipswich Hospital, but adult inpatients in Suffolk may have up to three different visitors during the duration of their hospital stay. This is because the prevalence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Suffolk is lower than north Essex at this time.


Booking your visit
All ward visits must be booked in advance by ringing the ward where the patient you would like to see is receiving care.

These visits must be booked by the person closest to the patient, such as their next of kin. Only this nominated person will be able to book visits for the patient.

Staggered visiting times are running from 10am to 9pm, seven days a week, Monday to Friday. Please ring between 10am and 3pm on weekdays only. Ward telephone numbers can be found here.

Visiting slots cannot be shared and it is important visitors arrive on time, but not early, and we ask that visitors also leave promptly once the 45 minute slot has come to an end.

We will keep our visiting policy under constant review and we will make any further changes as quickly and as safely as possible.


Supporting visiting in exceptional circumstances
Visiting arrangements to see patients in exceptional circumstances, such as when a patient is receiving end of life care, and visiting ESNEFT maternity units, have not changed.

If there are wards which have to be closed to visitors for any reason, family liaison teams can support virtual visiting in those areas. The Trust’s letters to loved ones service is still running and teams are continuing to use iPads and mobile phones to help people keep in touch too.

Specific visiting guidance is here for carers who may be supporting patients with learning disabilities or dementia for example.


Our hospitals are safe
Although these visiting restrictions are in place, all services at our hospitals are continuing to operate.

If you have an appointment, or are booked in for an operation/procedure, you should attend as planned, but please follow national Coronavirus (COVID-19) safety advice at all times.


We are asking all visitors to:

  • Wash or sanitise your hands when you arrive at hospital
  • Wear a face covering
  • While you are in hospital wash your hands often, or use hand sanitiser
  • Keep your distance and stay 2 metres apart from others
  • Not linger in shops or arrange to meet others in communal areas of our hospitals, such as coffee shops and restaurants
  • Not come to hospital if you have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, loss or change in sense of taste or smell. Instead you should stay at home and book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.
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