Physical visiting is being reintroduced in a limited way to maintain patient/relative contact during the COVID pandemic. We need to ensure the highest protection to our patients, visitors and staff.

General visiting to the hospital remains suspended. Exceptions are:

  • If you are a birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour. Our Maternity team have published details about visiting arrangements for mums to be and birth partners.
  • If you are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.
  • If the patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care. We can now accept two named visitors (previously limited to just one). Only one visitor is permitted at any one time.

Patients should attend the Emergency Department by themselves wherever possible. If help is needed a maximum of one person can accompany people attending.

We are beginning to re-introduce physical visiting for:

  • Vulnerable patients, including but not limited to patients with a learning disability and patients with dementia.
  • Patients in non-Covid critical care areas.

We may also be able to accommodate visitors for patients with a long length of stay, or following recommendations from their medical team. Please be aware we are not able to permit visiting to any Covid areas, except for patients receiving end-of-life care.

All visits are limited to a maximum of 1 hour, and a specific time will be agreed with the ward.

All visitors to the hospital must follow any health and safety rules including wearing a face covering in the hospital, and must not be isolating, shielding or unwell.

Virtual visiting and keeping in touch

Many patients are able to communicate face to face with their friends, relatives and carers using their own mobile device directly from their inpatient ward. We ask everyone to keep the privacy of other patients in mind if they do use their own device to keep in touch with loved ones.

For patients not able to use their own device, we have devices available for them to use to keep in touch with relatives, friends and carers.

Patients will be asked upon admission if this is a service they would like to make use of, and a note will be made in their records. Nursing staff will also try to identify if this service is something they think would benefit a patient even if the patient has previously turned down the offer.

Relatives and carers can also request this service through our Patient Experience team.

Please note this is an “outbound” service only. Calls will be facilitated by a member of staff or a volunteer during the day, Monday to Friday, and are dependent on availability of the person being called.

Calls can be made as a normal voice call, Apple Facetime, or WhatsApp video. This will also depend on the facility available to the person receiving the call.

You can also send a message to patient by email – details are available here.

How to get personal belongings to a patient in the hospital

Our volunteers co-ordinate getting personal belongings to patients. They are available on weekdays between 9am and 4.30pm.

If you need to get personal belongings to a relative, you must first contact the Voluntary Services team on 01226 434979 or 01226 435874 to book a time to drop off your items. They will let you know where you need to go, and more details about the process.

Hard items like mobile phones or books will be cleaned before being delivered to the ward. Soft items like clothes or soft toys will be placed in storage for 72 hours before they are given to patients.

At weekends our volunteers are not available and you will need to liaise directly with the ward.

How to stay updated about a patient’s care at the hospital

Proactive communication about a patient’s care usually takes place face-to-face with a patient’s family or carers during visits. This has not been possible during the Covid pandemic, so we currently provide this communication over the phone.

On admission to the ward, the nurse caring for the patient will record who will be their nominated point of contact.  This person will receive regular telephone calls from the ward about the patient’s care.

The ward will always try to discuss discharge planning arrangements with the nominated point of contact so long as the patient agrees this is OK.

Patient feedback

The standard paper-based NHS Friends and Family test was suspended at the end of March 2020 until further notice.

Patients are still able to provide feedback through dedicated staff and volunteers who make daily visits to each area of the hospital. They complete a digital survey on behalf of any patient who wishes to provide feedback.