Hospital visits to be suspended due to Covid infection rise

Visiting is to be suspended at Suffolk hospital's following a rise in the number of Covid patients

Visiting is to be suspended at Suffolk hospital's following a rise in the number of Covid patients - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

Visiting will be suspended for three weeks at east and west Suffolk hospitals due to a high number of Covid-19 infections in communities, and in particular, Ipswich.

The suspension will come into place in all Suffolk hospitals on Wednesday, October 27, as the hospitals are seeing an increasing number of patients with the virus. 

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) have issued exceptions and visiting for end of life and maternity care and for those that are parents of children or in a caring role for a patient with learning disabilities or severe dementia.

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT, said: "Our number one priority is to keep everyone – patients, visitors and staff – safe, and one of the ways we can do this is to reduce the number of people in our hospitals.

"This is not a decision we have made easily. We know how much it means to our patients to have visitors and how important visiting is to families and friends of a loved one in hospital, too.

"However, we have made this decision to keep all our patients and staff safe.

“Considering the rising number of COVID-19 infections across Suffolk and that there are now more people in hospital with the virus, we need to take this action now.”

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The new rules will apply to Ipswich Hospital, West Suffolk Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital, Newmarket Community Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich and Glastonbury Court in Bury St Edmunds.

The situation in north Essex being kept under close review and the restricted policy will continue at Colchester Hospital and Clacton Hospital.

Chief nurse of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust Sue Wilkinson said: “We have not taken this decision lightly, as we know how much patients and relatives value visiting. 

“Our priority, however, has to be keeping those vulnerable patients in our care as safe as possible, and with the high levels of COVID-19 cases in the county currently that means reducing the number of people coming into our hospitals.

“Relatives can use our dedicated helpline and video calling services to keep in touch with loved ones while they are in our care.”

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