Hospital visiting restrictions are eased in Northumberland

Visiting restrictions imposed at hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside have now been eased.

By David Sedgwick
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 11:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 11:42 am
Visiting restrictions are being eased at Northumberland's hospitals, including Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington.
Visiting restrictions are being eased at Northumberland's hospitals, including Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington.

The additional restrictions were put in place by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, in line with neighbouring trusts across the North East, last month following a rise in Omicron cases of Covid.

As of February 7, visiting will be permitted once again on most wards, but health officials say it is important to check with individual wards for their local arrangements as the situation can be changeable.

A number of conditions still remain in place, with each patient permitted to have one nominated visitor who must present evidence of a negative lateral flow test when coming in.

Officials say it means a return to the arrangements that were in in place prior to Saturday, January 8, when visiting was limited to certain specific circumstances to cope with the latest wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Marion Dickson, the trust’s executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “The safety of our patients and staff is always our top priority and infection prevention and control is a vital part of that, which is why we reluctantly had to limit visiting further last month.

"However, we also recognise how important it is for patients to have contact with their loved ones, which is why we said we would review the situation on a regular basis.

“We believe we are at a point now where we are in a more positive direction of travel in relation to the Omicron wave of Covid-19, as evidenced by community transmission rates, admissions to our hospitals and our staff absence rates.

"This means that the majority of wards have now reopened to visitors, but there are exceptions and the situation is changeable, so please check with the ward for their position.

“In addition, we still require everyone coming to our sites to continue to wear a face covering, wash their hands and maintain their distance from others. Visitors are also required to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test.”

Wards will allow no more than three visitors in at any one time, so visitors must be nominated by patients and must book a slot in advance.

Visitors must have no symptoms of Covid-19 and must take a lateral flow test in advance of their visit and bring evidence of this with them, either an NHS email/text or their testing strip.

Lateral flow testing kits are available online at www.gov.uk and from local pharmacies.

The appropriate PPE must be worn and other guidance followed by those that are able to visit. If you have had recent contact with someone who has tested positive, it is not advisable to visit.

Patients and visitors are also being reminded that the hand, face, space measures will continue to apply in all Northumbria Healthcare settings, despite the easing of national restrictions through the removal of the plan B measures from Thursday, January 27.

Anyone coming into hospitals and other Northumbria Healthcare sites in Northumberland and North Tyneside must wear a face covering, wash their hands and continue to socially distance.