Hospital visiting advice issued by Shropshire nursing boss

The number of Covid patients within our hospitals is continuing to rise with the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, with rates in our communities at extremely elevated levels, writes Hayley Flavell, director of nursing at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

This means, as a trust and within the health and care system we have had to take measures to protect our colleagues, patients and our communities so that we continue to provide the best service that we can and reduce the spread of Covid-19.

At the start of the pandemic we made the very difficult decision to suspend visiting at our hospitals, but throughout we have maintained compassionate visiting in end of life care and for those with specific needs to ensure that we support our patients and their loved ones. We have also continued to support visiting for the neonatal unit and within our maternity department.

We will be maintaining this overall approach but, in light of new national guidance and the considerable rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, we need your support to help ensure that it is all done safely and in a way that protects all involved.

More details on what this means are available on our website - sath.nhs.uk - but most notably we will be asking that visitors take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) on the day of each visit prior to attending hospital and bring evidence of a negative result with them when coming in. Thank you for your cooperation and help in this.

Our colleagues at the trust will continue to support and encourage those they are caring for to make full use of the other options available whilst visiting is suspended or restricted.

Our chaplaincy team is available to support patients and the people important to them; patients can access ward iPads/mobile phones if they do not have a mobile phone; and loved ones will be encourage to send a message to those in hospital by following the link at sath.nhs.uk/covid19/contactapatient

These messages will then be delivered to the patient.

We know how important it is to have communication between patients and their families and friends, and will do all we can to facilitate this wherever, or through whatever means we can within the restrictions the ongoing pandemic necessitates. Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

I would once again urge anyone over the age of 18 years who is eligible to go and get their booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine as long as their appointment is at least three months from their second dose.

Research has shown that having your Covid-19 booster jab, if you have already had your two vaccination doses, prevents around 75 per cent of people getting Covid symptoms. Having both your Covid-19 vaccination and booster jab is still the best way to protect yourself and your friends and family, both from contracting the virus and, if you should get it, from serious illness.

Walk-in and pop-up clinics for the Covid-19 vaccination and boosters are still available across the county. More details can be found at stwics.org.uk

As well as giving thanks to all our colleagues at the trust, we must not forget the support of our many volunteers who go above and beyond to help out at our hospitals. This week, I would like to make special mention of Jill Wellings who has retired after nearly six decades as a Royal Shrewsbury Hospital League of Friends’ volunteer. Jill also had a long career as a nurse.

Jill was on Radio Shropshire yesterday talking about the satisfaction she got out of being a volunteer and her abseiling off one of the hospital buildings to raise funds. Jill really is a true inspiration.

Volunteers can make a real difference to the experience of our patients, relatives and staff, so please get in touch with the Trust or League of Friends if you can help

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