Covid cases at Suffolk and north Essex hospitals continue to fall

The intensive care units at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals have been full since before New Year due to the pressure from...

Covid cases at hospitals in Suffolk and north Essex have dropped again - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The number of people being treated at Suffolk and north Essex hospitals for Covid-19 has continued to decrease in the past week, according to latest figures. 

The data, released by NHS England on Thursday, showed that the number of people being treated by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, dropped by 44% in the past week. 

The number of coronavirus patients at the trust's hospitals dropped from 18 on March 31 to 10 on April 6. 

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds had only a single Covid-19 patient as of April 6, which was the same as the previous seven days. 

File photo dated 16/11/02 of a sign at West Suffolk Hospital In Bury St Edmunds, as a manhunt was un

West Suffolk Hospital had only one Covid patient - Credit: PA

The latest published admissions data comes as ESNEFT announced it was further relaxing its visiting arrangements at its hospitals. 

The changes apply in four areas – maternity, emergency departments (A&E), children’s services and end of life care.

The new arrangements in maternity will be in place from Monday, April 12, in line with the next phase of the government’s planned easing of the national lockdown.

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The maternity guidance covers all appointments and visits at Colchester, Ipswich and Clacton hospitals.

The key changes are:

  • Pregnant people can be accompanied at all scans by one support person
  • Pregnant people can be accompanied at all antenatal and postnatal appointments by one support person
  • One support person ideally from the same household or support bubble may visit antenatal and postnatal wards for two hours, which has been extended from one hour
  • One support person may accompany someone in labour from the point of admission to the maternity unit – rather than from the point of established labour

Giles Thorpe, ESNEFT’s chief nurse, said: “We are very happy to be relaxing visiting restrictions in maternity services at our hospitals. We have made these changes as quickly and as safely as possible, in line with national guidance.

We would like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during what we know has been an extremely difficult time for expectant parents and their families.

“This is a positive step forward for our families, which will allow us to continue offering the best possible care and support for people throughout their pregnancies.”

On children's wards at ESNEFT, two parents or carers may visit a child if they are from the same household or support bubble as the patient. 

While up to four visitors will be able to visit patients receiving end of life care, where social distancing on the ward can be maintained and it has been agreed with the clinical team. 

In A&E, visitors are still not allowed to accompany patients in waiting rooms, unless the patient is a child, a vulnerable adult, or there are exceptional/compassionate circumstances.