Ipswich and Colchester hospitals suspending visitors in lockdown
- Credit: Rachel Edge
People will be suspended from visiting Ipswich and Colchester hospitals during the national lockdown to help stop the spread of coronavirus and keep patients and staff safe.
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, has taken the difficult decision to stop visiting, as it did during the first wave of the pandemic.
The changes will come into place tomorrow as a host of new restrictions are enforced across England to help combat the spread of Covid-19.
A rise in local cases had led to an increase in patients with the virus at ESNEFT’s hospitals.
Nick Hulme, chief executive at ESNEFT, said: “Our teams are working incredibly hard to keep everyone at our hospitals safe and to provide compassionate and high-quality care for all.
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“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we thank everyone in our communities for their continuing support at this very difficult time.
“Our ward teams will be making every effort to keep in contact with patients’ families and loved ones. We understand how important that reassurance is when someone you care about is in hospital.
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There will be some exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – can visit the hospitals.
These include if a patient is receiving end-of-life care, you are a parent or appropriate adult with a child in hospital, you are a carer who may be supporting someone with a learning disability or dementia, for example, or you have a pre-existing visiting appointment booked on Thursday or Friday with a patient on a ward.
How can you stay in touch with loved ones?
ESNEFT’s letters to loved ones service is still running and teams will continue to use iPads and mobile phones to help people keep in touch while face-to-face visiting is not possible.
In most cases, families should nominate a key contact to liaise with the hospital ward who can then share updates with other families and friends.
What about maternity and antenatal arrangements?
• Attending ultrasound scans
One adult from the same household can attend 12 and 20 week scans with someone who is pregnant at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals.
For everyone’s safety and to reduce the overall number of people in hospitals, the person brought to the appointment must be the same person every time.
Whoever you bring with you for your 12 week scan, must be who you then bring with you to your 20 week scan.
• Birthing partners
Only one birthing supporter or partner may accompany a person in established labour.
One birthing supporter or partner may go to hospital with a pregnant person at the beginning of the induction of labour process and can stay with them until 8pm in the evenings.
Only one birthing supporter or partner may attend with a woman for an elective caesarean section.
For more details of antenatal, maternity and postnatal arrangements during this wave of the pandemic visit ESNEFT’s website.The Colchester and Ipswich Hospital emergency departments and the urgent treatment centre at Colchester Hospital remain open to patients who need urgent and emergency help.
Mr Hulme said: “Our hospital teams are working hard to keep everyone safe and it’s important for our patients to attend their booked appointments and surgery so we can continue caring for them.”
If you have a health concern that’s not an emergency but you’re thinking about going to A&E call NHS 111 first.