Tighter visiting restrictions set for hospitals as COVID cases soar

Tighter visiting restrictions are set for Lister Hospital amid rising COVID cases

Tighter visiting restrictions are set for Lister Hospital amid rising COVID cases - Credit: East and North Herts NHS Trust

East and North Herts NHS Trust - which runs Lister Hospital in Stevenage - has announced it will further tighten its visiting restrictions from tomorrow.

The decision comes due to the increase in COVID cases in the community.

From Wednesday, January 5, visitors are only able to visit their loved ones in hospital in exceptional circumstances, such as if they are receiving end of life care or they suffer from a condition - such as dementia or a learning disability - which means not having a family member present would cause distress to the patient.

Those visiting a patient in these circumstances must wear a face covering, wash or sanitise their hands and maintain social distancing when in hospital.

The trust - which also runs the New QEII in Welwyn Garden City, Hertford County Hospital and The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre - has said it understands how disappointing this will be to both patients and their loved ones and this decision has been very carefully considered.

However, these steps are now necessary in order to keep patients and staff safe.

The heightened restrictions will be regularly reviewed and the trust will update its website and social media channels once it is able to restart patient visiting.

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This will be dependent on a number of factors, including the prevalence of COVID in the local community.

The virtual visiting will continue to run. Appointments for a virtual visit can be made through the online booking page, or by calling 0333 332 5520.

Rachael Corser, chief nurse at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said: “I know how disappointing this decision must be both for our patients and their loved ones; but given the rising number of COVID cases in our local community, it is right that we now take steps to protect our patients and staff."

"To help you keep in touch with your loved one in hospital, please take advantage of our virtual visiting service by booking an appointment through our website.”

The Trust is currently reviewing its visiting policies for maternity services and, should there be any changes, will update their website with more information in the coming days.

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