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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucestershire NHS to allow hospital visitors

Visitors will be allowed on Gloucestershire's hospital wards from today (26th April), with some restrictions.

With transmission rates continuing to reduce, the successful vaccination roll-out and the government's roadmap out of lockdown continuing on track, the NHS in Gloucestershire has reviewed arrangements for visiting in the county's hospitals.

From Monday 26th April, one visitor per patient will be allowed in the county's hospitals for one hour each day. Visitors must be a close contact (from the same household or family bubble) and must book visits beforehand, at a prearranged time between 12noon and 6pm.

There will be some exceptions in special circumstances and where patients would benefit from a carer being with them, for example for ongoing personal, physical and emotional care and support whilst in hospital. This might include patients with learning disabilities, dementia or other vulnerabilities.

Professor Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are really pleased to be able to invite visitors back into our wards, as we know just how difficult it has been for families, friends and loved ones not to be able to visit since we implemented restrictions to keep our patients and staff safe and help to prevent transmission of Covid-19 in our hospitals.

"Sadly, we cannot yet completely ease the restrictions, but we do hope that by enabling one visitor to come in and see a patient each day, this will help close contacts, while still enabling us to ensure we maintain the low infection rates we have worked so hard, together, to achieve."

John Trevains, director of nursing, therapies and quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are very grateful to everyone who adapted to the visiting restrictions we've had in place. We introduced digital visiting options, such as iPads for video calls, at hospitals in the county and encouraged contact via phone. However, we know how important human contact is while people are in hospital and we're pleased that we can once more welcome visitors into our buildings, with some important limitations to keep everyone safe."

From today, visiting guidance for adult inpatient areas is:

  • One visitor can visit one patient for one hour a day at a prearranged time between 12noon and 6pm
  • Visitors should be a close contact ie a family member, from the same household or support bubble
  • Visits should be booked in advance via ward staff
  • Visitors must wear a PPE face mask and keep 2 metres away from other people
  • All visitors must wash their hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward and department
  • Visitors with a medical mask exemption should discuss the additional support required to stay safe and help protect others on their visit with the nurse in charge of the ward

People should not visit if:

  • They are required to self-isolate because they live in a household where someone has had symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 14 days
  • They have tested positive for Covid-19, including via a lateral flow test
  • They are displaying symptoms of Covid-19

Visitors who were previously shielding should remain cautious about visiting and have strict adherence to social distancing, face mask and hand hygiene guidelines.

The updated restrictions will apply to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Cheltenham General Hospital and seven community hospitals in the county:

  • Cirencester
  • The Dilke (Cinderford)
  • Lydney
  • North Cotswolds (Moreton-in-Marsh)
  • Stroud
  • Tewkesbury
  • The Vale (Dursley)

They also apply to the county's mental health and learning disability inpatient units:

  • Wotton Lawn (Gloucester)
  • Charlton Lane (Cheltenham)
  • Berkeley House (Stroud)
  • Laurel House (Cheltenham)
  • Honeybourne (Cheltenham)

Children's wards and neonatal intensive care:

  • Visiting is restricted to parents, carers or guardians only and must be household members or a member of the support bubble
  • Only two visitors are allowed per child at any one time. This should be the same two visitors on each occasion

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