Restricted visiting to be reintroduced at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are due to merge in July. Picture: ARCHANT

Visiting will be reintroduced at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals next week - Credit: Archant

Patients at Ipswich and Colchester Hospital will soon be able to have one visitor while they are receiving care. 

The reintroduction of visitors comes after a large majority of visiting had to be suspended due to an increase in coronavirus cases. 

From Monday, November 29, visitors will be welcomed back to wards in a safe and controlled way with the return of pre-booked visiting slots. 

Patients will be able to nominate one visitors who will be able to see them for one hour a day, after they have spent more than 24 hours at hospital. 

The visiting policy applies at East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) hospitals, which are Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, Clacton Hospital and Fryatt Hospital in Harwich.

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT, said: “We’re very happy that we can safely welcome some visitors back to our hospitals, but we now need our communities help to keep visiting open.

“Please take up the offer of the Covid-19 vaccine, and the booster if you’re eligible, take a lateral flow test before you visit our wards and stay at home if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 or you’re unwell in any way.

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“The consequence of this advice not being followed is that we will have to close down visiting again over the Christmas and New Year period.

"We really do not want to do that as we know how important visiting is to patients and their loved ones, especially at this time of year.

“However, Covid-19 hasn’t gone away and while we are still seeing hospitalisations and deaths locally, we need to do all we can to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe.

“We’ll continue to keep our visiting arrangements under close review, including monitoring local rates of Covid-19 infection, and we won’t hesitate to make changes again if we need to.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support to help us limit the spread of Covid-19 and other winter illnesses in our hospitals.”

The nominated visitor is being strongly recommended to:

  • Have received at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine
  • Take a rapid test for Covid-19 before they visit and show the evidence of a negative test result to ward teams, either through a photo of the test strip or via the NHS app. Tests can be ordered on the government website.
  • Do not visit a patient and stay at home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, they feel generally unwell (even if it’s just a cold) or they have diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms

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