Hospital visiting hours slashed

IPSWICH Hospital today announced it is dramatically cutting visiting times in an attempt to reduce the number of infections plaguing its wards.In its biggest ever crackdown on superbugs like MRSA, C-difficile and the Norovirus winter vomiting bug, the hospital will reduce visiting times to two hours a day.

IPSWICH Hospital today announced it is dramatically cutting visiting times in an attempt to reduce the number of infections plaguing its wards.

In its biggest ever crackdown on superbugs like MRSA, C-difficile and the Norovirus winter vomiting bug, the hospital will reduce visiting times to two hours a day.

From June 4, visitors to general wards will only be welcomed from 3pm to 4pm and 7pm to 8pm, a significant reduction from the current 2pm to 8pm window.

Gwen Collins, the trusts director of nursing and quality, said: “This is the biggest course of action the hospital has taken to crack down on infections.

“The reasons we are making these changes are to provide safer patient care, more effective infection control and to increase dignity and privacy for patients.

“We recognise the importance of support from family and friends for people when they are in hospital. However, we want to enhance the quality of care we deliver by introducing specific visiting hours and clearer guidelines for visitors.

Most Read

“I hope the community will support us.”

The Ipswich Hospital User Group and the hospital's patient and public involvement forum both support the plans.

Visitors can also expect the unwritten rules of a maximum of two visitors per bed and no visitors under 12 years old to be strictly enforced. Mrs Collins said the rules will have exceptions, at the discretion of ward managers.

The altered visiting times will not be enforced in intensive care, children's wards and medical and surgical assessment units.

The hospital said there will be a member of staff targeting visitors as they arrive on wards, ensuring they wash their hands and being available to answer questions.

Mrs Collins said the changes could have a significant impact on infection rates.

In 2006/07 there were 51 MRSA cases at the hospital, despite a target of 32. Since April there has been just one.

Also since April there has been 40 C-difficile cases. There were 496 across last year.

The hospital will put a large banner outside the hospital, detailing the visiting time changes, and new signs at the five main entrances reminding people to wash their hands. More information about infections will be available on the hospital's website.

N Do you support the hospital's plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IPSWICH Hospital today said it was confident the reduced visiting times would not put pressure on the site's car parking spaces.

Jan Rowsell spokeswoman for the hospital's management, said: “We have been creating a small number of additional car parking spaces which have eased congestion.

“The latest survey shows at most times of the day people are able to find a space, although every now and again we will have exceptionally busy days.

“We anticipate the change of visiting hours will not create problems with parking, but we will monitor the situation very carefully.”

Lorene Baker, chairwoman of the Ipswich Hospital Patient and Public Involvement Forum, said: “We are definitely supporting the hospital on this.

“It will not only help to combat infections, but also help the many patients who find visiting times tiring.

“Car parking has always been a concern but we think, while there are now only two hours for visitors, only two visitors are allowed per bed so there will be less people trying to park.”

Vox pop

Murali Panathala, 35, of Stoke Street, Ipswich, said: “I would rather they kept the hours longer. It will certainly make it more difficult to visit people from now on.”

Richard Miller, 30, of the Pinewood estate, Ipswich, said: “This is bad news. If they want to change the levels of cleanliness they should just clean more, not punish relatives and friends of people in hospital.”

Robert Meare, 51, of Billericay, said: “It doesn't make much sense. There is a gel to use on your hands when you enter and leave the hospital so that should be enough. I have to visit people in hospital at the moment and limited visiting hours would make things a lot harder.”

Sally Howard, 54, of Colorado, USA, said: “In the States they have all day visiting and I think it should be the same here. It make a difference to the patient if they feel they can have visitors all of the time.”

Joy Fiddament, 50, of the Ipswich town centre area, said: “Cleanliness levels in the hospital are a real problem at the moment. There are a lot of infections and we need to address these. I think this is a good idea but I hope it is only for a short while and once these problems are sorted out the hours can be extended.”

Robert and Gillian Butcher, of Glamorgan Road, Ipswich, said: “We think it is a good idea. The hospital always used to have it that way years ago. They would close for cleaning between visiting slots. With all the problems with cleanliness at the hospital maybe it is time to turn to the way things were done before these problems arose.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter