Visiting adult patients


Please have a quick test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) before coming to our hospitals.

Anyone showing symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) should not visit or accompany patients to any appointments in our hospitals.

Emergency Departments (A&E)

  • Due to the need to maintain social distancing we are unfortunately still not able to allow visitors to accompany patients in our waiting rooms, unless the patient is a vulnerable adult, or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances, in which case one adult may accompany the patient – providing the patient and accompanying adult are free of Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • Patients who are in our majors and resuscitation areas only may be accompanied by one close family contact, or somebody important to them (ideally from the same household or support bubble) within the A&E department – providing the patient and accompanying adult are free of Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • Visitors may not accompany the patient to other departments, for example x-ray. They must remain within the area of A&E they are in, until the patient is admitted or discharged, and not wander around the hospital building. If the patient is admitted, visitors will be kindly asked to leave at that point and book a ward visit – see our general ward visiting guidance.

Colchester and Ipswich hospitals’ 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.

End of life visiting

  • Up to four visitors will be able to visit patients receiving end of life care, where social distancing on the ward can be maintained and it has been agreed with the clinical team.

Please be reminded the following guidance in other areas of our hospitals, which is under regular review, is unchanged for now. These rules still apply:

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 a 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 during the patient’s stay in hospital.
  • Under current Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines, children are not able to visit our wards, apart from in exceptional / compassionate circumstances.
  • Unfortunately, visits to Coronavirus (COVID-19) wards and any bays on wards that are closed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot be supported at this time.


  • Patients cannot be accompanied, unless they are a child, vulnerable adult or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances, in which case one adult may accompany the patient – providing the patient and accompanying adult are free of Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. This is so we can maintain social distancing in both our waiting rooms and clinical areas.

Critical Care

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

Visiting and attendance at appointments in exceptional / compassionate circumstances, as well as carer responsibilities is supported across the Trust. Specific visiting guidance is here for carers.

ESNEFT Chief Executive Nick Hulme said: “The safety of our patients, visitors and staff is what’s most important to us.

“Restricted visiting policies and arrangements for attending appointments in our hospitals have to stay in place for now while Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be in general circulation in our communities and hospitals, but we will make further changes when we can.

“Our teams are working incredibly hard to keep everybody safe, whether they’re receiving our care or visiting loved ones, and we sincerely thank you for your continued patience and support.”

Visitors and PPE

  • All visitors must wear a surgical face mask – we will be able to supply you with one so personal, fabric face coverings are not worn on our wards.
  • All visitors must also wear gloves and an apron if they are within 2 metres of a patient when visiting our wards.

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 click HERE
  • washing your hands regularly, especially before and after your visit
  • wearing a face mask
  • following social distancing guidance

Our hospitals
ESNEFT’s visiting policy applies at Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, Clacton Hospital and Fryatt Hospital in Harwich.

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