More visitors to be allowed at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
More visitors will soon be able to see patients on wards in Suffolk and north Essex hospitals after a change in visiting policy was announced.
From Thursday, March 3, up to three people will be able to see a patient for the duration of their stay at hospitals run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), including Ipswich and Colchester.
However, it is not possible for three visitors to visit together at the same time, but they can arrange to see their loved one separately on different days.
The existing policy of one visitor per patient for one hour a day - 24 hours after they have been admitted to a ward or assessment unit - still applies.
Visiting slots will still be one hour long and must be booked with members of the ward in advance.
This does not apply to visiting in exceptional/compassionate circumstances, such as end of life care, where more open visiting is in place.
ESNEFT is still recommending that visitors are fully vaccinated, take a lateral flow test on the day of their visit, and wear a surgical face mask - unless you are exempt and report to ward reception when arriving for the visit.
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There are no changes in A&E or Outpatients.
Existing coronavirus visiting restrictions remain in place in those departments with only carers, or one support person in essential cases, able to attend with patients.
The visiting policy also applies in the mortuaries at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.
The maximum number of people who may attend an appointment is limited to two named visitors only so that hospitals can maintain social distancing in the viewing and waiting areas.
Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT and the trust’s director of infection prevention and control, said: “We are continuing to gradually and safely open visiting further so more people can come in to see the person they love.
"This must be on a rotational basis for now, but we recognise how important visitors are for our patients’ emotional wellbeing and how they support them with their recovery too, so we hope this step is a welcome one.
“We will keep our visiting guidance under regular review, in line with national guidance, so visitors can attend our hospitals and services in a way that continues to protect patients and staff alike – this is our top priority.
“We must continue to have some visiting restrictions in place for now to keep everyone safe and to help prevent any spread of COVID-19 in our hospitals.”
More information on the new visiting rules can be found on ESNEFT's website.