Visitors to return to Ipswich and Colchester hospitals from next week

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, which are part of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Covid visiting rules have been lifted at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - Credit: Archant

Patients will once again be allowed to have visitors at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals from next week.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages the hospitals, introduced tightened rules amid a surge in Covid cases.

However, the trust has confirmed these rules will be relaxed from Monday (February 14) to allow patients one visitor a day for one hour.

Visits must be pre-booked and can only be arranged after patients have been in hospital for 24 hours.

Visitors are advised to be fully vaccinated against Covid and take a lateral flow test in advance, ESNEFT said.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of ESNEFT, said: "I’m delighted that we are now able to cautiously reintroduce visiting in all our hospital sites.

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester...

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the trust which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"We recognise the significant upset not having visitors can cause to patients and their families and suspending visiting is never an easy decision for us.

"However, our priority is always to keep everyone safe, whether they’re in our care, visiting someone they love, or they’re at work.

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"That’s why we remain cautious and why we are insisting certain precautions are taken by visitors, including taking a lateral flow test before coming to our hospitals and being vaccinated against Covid-19.

"As ever, we will keep all our decisions around visiting under constant review."