Physical visiting is being reintroduced in a limited way. We need to ensure the highest protection to our patients, visitors and staff.

General visiting to the hospital remains limited

We have recently updated our visiting procedures. Physical visiting is allowed for:

  • All patients who wish to have a visitor.
  • Patients who may be receiving life-changing news.
  • Patients in non-Covid critical care areas.

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 a child in the Children’s Ward or Neonatal Unit.

If the patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care. In these circumstances we now accept two named visitors (previously limited to just one). Only one visitor is permitted at any one time – they may not attend together.

We are not able to permit visiting to any Covid areas, except for patients receiving end-of-life care.

Accompanying someone who is receiving urgent care

If you need to come to the Emergency Department, you must attend alone. If the patient requires assistance, a maximum of one person may accompany them. This is so we can ensure we minimise infection risk in these well-used areas of the hospital.

No visiting permitted on the Acute Medical Unit (AMU).

Arranging your visit

All visiting must be made by arrangement with the relevant Ward.

All visits will be at a specific time agreed in advance with ward. Due to social distancing requirements, visits may be short in duration.

Each patient is allowed only one named visitor, and this must be the same visitor on each visit.

Because we need to spread visiting throughout the day, defined visiting slots will not be limited to previous visiting times. You should arrive in good time for your visiting slot so you are able to spend the maximum amount of available time with the patient.

Anybody coming to the hospital must follow our health and safety rules including wearing a face covering in the hospital, and must not be isolating, shielding or have any symptoms of Covid-19 (persistent cough, high temperature, or loss of taste or smell).

If you are asked to come to the hospital for an Outpatients appointment, you should attend your outpatient appointment alone, unless you need a carer to assist you. We have answered your frequently asked questions about coming to the hospital for you outpatient appointment.

Please be aware there are many other ways you can keep in touch with your loved ones while they are in hospital.

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.