Visiting reintroduced at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

Visiting has been reintroduced at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

Visiting has been reintroduced at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Visitors are now able to see patients on wards in some Suffolk and north Essex hospitals after a recent change in visiting policy. 

Up to three people will be able to visit their loved ones at their bedside 24 hours after they have been admitted to a ward or assessment unit at hospitals run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), including Ipswich and Colchester.

The change in policy comes after the majority of ward visiting had to be suspended last month due to the impact of Covid within the hospitals. 

Like previous times, visiting slots must be booked in advance with ward teams and will be one hour long. 

This does not apply to visiting in exceptional or compassionate circumstances, such as end of life care, where more open visiting remains in place.

More flexible visiting for carers is also supported. Carers may stay with a patient as needed and be substituted by a visitor.

Up to three people can see a patient for the duration of their hospital stay – but only two out of the three visitors may visit a ward together.

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ESNEFT's chief nurse Giles Thorpe said: “It is great news that we are now able to welcome visitors back on to our wards again.

"We know how important seeing someone you love is when you’re in hospital and we are sorry we had to take that away from people for a time.

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT - Credit: ESNEFT

“Any decision to suspend visiting isn’t one that we take lightly as we appreciate the upset and distress it can cause, but we had to take action when we did to keep everyone safe in our hospitals.

"This is always our number one priority.

“I would like to thank our communities for their support and understanding while we had to close the majority of ward visiting, and hope this is welcome news today for both our patients and their families.”

Visiting times must be staggered over a 12-hour period to help staff manage footfall on the wards. 

Hospitals are still asking anyone showing any symptoms of coronavirus, or anyone feeling unwell to not visit the hospitals to help prevent the spread of any infection, not just Covid.