Hospitals to continue review of visiting restrictions as limits remain

What is the latest on hospital visiting restrictions

Restrictions on visiting continue to be limited to one named person per patient at this time. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Sonya Duncan

Limits on visitor numbers at Norfolk's hospitals will remain in place as coronavirus rules ease, bosses have confirmed.

In April, the Norfolk and Norwich University University Hospital (NNUH), James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), in King's Lynn, brought back inpatient ward visit restrictions, with limits of one visitor per day for one hour.

Members of the public have asked when restrictions will be lifted as more people access vaccinations and testing.

The region's three hospital trusts have said not yet - but that they continue to review visiting processes in line with lockdown easing.

The chief executive of the JPUH confirmed on Friday it is  "gradually" increasing visitor numbers, but also expressed concerns over a "poor uptake" of patients wearing masks.

At a meeting of the trust's board, Anna Hills said: "We are beginning to open up and ease visiting arrangements and visitors can book to see inpatients and we are continually reviewing these processes in line with lockdown easing."

Hospital visitors are urged to wash their hands, wear surgical masks when entering and moving through the hospital, observe social distancing guidelines at all times and wear a disposable apron.

At the remaining trusts, visitor numbers remain at one patient per day, booked through their appointment channels.

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Visitors need to book in advance and bring proof of a negative Covid-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to each visit.

A spokesman from the NNUH said: "Hospital visiting is taking place in a managed way to keep patients, visitors and staff as safe as possible and we are monitoring closely national guidance."

And Alice Webster, chief nurse at the QEH, said visitors were important for patients' physical and emotional recovery.

She said: "These plans are continually reviewed with the safety of our patients, their families and members of team QEH our top priority.

“Throughout the pandemic, for those patients unable to receive visitors, we facilitated virtual visits via phone, video calls, and messages and will continue to do so.”

All three of the region's trust offer virtual visits and letters to loved ones for those unable to visit in hospital.