More visiting restrictions imposed at hospitals due to Covid-19

New visiting restrictions are being introduced at Northumberland and North Tyneside hospitals to protect the safety of patients and staff.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 1:12 pm
New visiting restrictions have been imposed, including at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington

Officials at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust say they have made the difficult decision to introduce further visiting restrictions in the wake of the latest wave of the pandemic, which has added to usual winter pressures through increasing staff absence rates and rising numbers of patients being admitted with Covid-19.

As of January 8, initially for a two-week period, visiting is now only permitted in certain limited circumstances, including for patients receiving end-of-life care, birthing partners in maternity units and parents/guardians in the children’s unit.

Marion Dickson, the trust’s executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “This step has been taken extremely reluctantly as we are well aware of the benefits of patients being able to see friends and family in person.

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"However, we have a duty to keep our patients and staff safe, and these restrictions are necessary at this time to ensure that we limit the spread of infection.

“We would like to thank all visitors and relatives for their support and cooperation at this time and hope that they can make use of some of the other measures we have put in place for them to communicate with patients.

"We will review these additional restrictions in two weeks’ time given the rapidly changing situation we find ourselves in currently.”

iPads will continue to be available on wards to facilitate ‘virtual’ visiting, while friends and relatives will be able to stay connected to loved ones by ringing the trust’s patient line on 0191 295 2766, available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Currently, visiting is only permitted in the following circumstances:

For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill.

For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit.

For long-stay patients and those with dementia.

A birthing partner remains able to attend all planned and emergency maternity scans, appointments and assessments and throughout labour and the postnatal period.

Where visitors are permitted, you must follow the other guidance in place, which includes providing evidence of a negative rapid lateral flow test prior to your visit, wearing a face covering at all times and washing your hands upon arrival at our sites.