Visiting wards and departments


ESNEFT’s most recent visiting guidance

We continue to care for patients with a number of transmissible infections and here’s how you can help us to keep our hospitals safe.

The following visiting guidance is in place in all ESNEFT hospitals:


General wards

  • Two visitors at a time may visit the bedsides of patients on our adult inpatient and critical care wards between 10am and 7pm.
    Some exceptions may apply – please double check with the team/nurse in charge of the ward you plan to visit. Visiting hours exclude protected mealtimes (unless you are supporting a patient with feeding) so we kindly ask you to check these times with the nurse in charge before your visit.


Children’s wards

  • Two parents/carers may visit a child together on children’s wards and neonatal units. One parent/carer may remain with their child throughout their stay, including overnight
  • Other family members may also visit, for example siblings and grandparents, following discussion and agreement with ward teams
  • Two parents/carers can accompany children to outpatient appointments
  • If you have any questions, please call the children’s department caring for your child

Key information

  • Visitors are required to wear surgical face masks covering their nose and mouth where there is a high-risk of transmission of contagious respiratory infection. So you’ll still be required to wear a mask:

–  If you are providing personal care (such as feeding or dressing) a patient with suspected or confirmed contagious respiratory infection.

– If you are visiting an area where there’s an outbreak (or suspected outbreak) of contagious respiratory infection.

–  If you are visiting patients who are immunosuppressed and need additional protection (in line with ward staff advice).

–  In some other circumstances where the clinical staff advise wearing masks because of infection risks.

  • Visitors should clean their hands regularly, especially entering and leaving the ward area
  • Visitors should stay at home if they are unwell. You should not visit hospital if you:
    – Have any COVID-19 symptoms (Opens in a new window) or have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days
    – Have had diarrhoea or vomiting. You should not come to hospital until you have been symptom free for 48 hours (two days).
    – Feel unwell in any way
  • We strongly discourage anyone who is clinically vulnerable/immunocompromised from visiting wards areas where we have transmissible infections. Make sure you talk to the nurse in charge of the ward and make an informed decision that’s right for you and the patient before visiting.
  • There is generally no limit on the number of people who can see a patient for the duration of their hospital stay. However, in some circumstances where infection is high risk, the ward nursing team may ask to further protect a patient by limiting the number of people overall who can visit them.
  • Children, and children who are siblings of patients/newborn babies, are welcome to visit our wards. These visits must be discussed and agreed with ward teams in advance, and the staff will be able to give you advice about children visiting areas where there are transmissible infections.
  • More flexible visiting is supported on compassionate grounds for end of life care, people in formal caring roles and supporting patients with dementia or a learning disability.


Attending A&E

  • Patients can be accompanied by up to two visitors in A&E. Patients and visitors attending A&E departments will be asked to wear a surgical face mask:

–  If you are a patient with suspected or confirmed contagious respiratory infection, or if you are a visitor providing personal care (such as feeding or dressing) to such a patient.

–  If you are immunosuppressed and clinical staff advise face masks are worn for additional protection.

–  In some other circumstances where the clinical staff advise wearing masks because of infection risks.


Attending Outpatients

  • Please arrive no sooner than five minutes before your appointment time.
  • Patients can be accompanied by one visitor. This is due to space limitations in ESNEFT outpatient departments.
  • The visitor may be asked to wait elsewhere during the patient’s clinical consultation.
  • We understand in some circumstances more than one person may wish to accompany a patient to their appointment. This must be discussed and arranged in advance by calling the number on your appointment letter. Two parents/carers can accompany children to outpatient appointments

Face masks are still available at all main entrances, or you can ask a member of staff on the ward or department you are visiting who can supply one for you.


Our hospitals

This guidance applies to Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, Clacton Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital and Fryatt Hospital in Harwich.


Helping your loved one to recover in hospital

Did you know you can help your loved one’s recovery when you’re visiting them in hospital?

These small things can make a big difference to patients:

  • Bring in clothing and toiletries and encourage the patient to wash and get dressed independently where possible
  • Make sure patients have any continence aids they are used to using so they feel confident, comfortable and dignified
  • Bring in their favourite nutritional snacks
  • For patients with cognitive impairments, ask staff if you can help complete a ‘This is Me’ document which will help hospital teams know more about the patient
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