Almost all visiting suspended at Shrewsbury and Telford hospital to stop spread of coronavirus

All visiting has been suspended to all wards at Shropshire’s two main hospitals to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, aside from for some specific cases.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury
Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in Shrewsbury

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, said the decision to suspend visiting had not been made lightly and aims to reduce the number of people coming into the hospitals, to protect patients.

The changes, which ban all visitors aside from some special cases such as for children and maternity patients, are now in effect and will remain in place until further notice.

There were some wards that had introduced a new visiting policy which allowed one visitor per patient, but they will now fall under the new restrictions.

It comes after a significant rise in coronavirus cases across Shropshire, with the number of new weekly positive tests doubling in Telford last week.

On Monday the Telford & Wrekin borough recorded 70 new cases - the highest daily amount in the area since the start of the pandemic - while cases have also been rising steadily in the Shropshire Council area.

Meanwhile nine coronavirus patients have so far died at SaTH in October after the trust recorded no Covid-19 deaths between July 12 and the end of September.

Hayley Flavell, the trust's director of nursing, said: “This has been a difficult decision for us to make but the health and safety, and wellbeing, of our patients, staff and visitors is our utmost priority.

“We understand that this is a worrying time for patients, their family and friends, and we are sorry for any distress that this may cause. In line with our usual practice, ward staff will contact next of kin if a patient in our care becomes seriously ill or if there are changes to their treatment.

“We have also put measures in place to help those in hospital communicate with their loved ones, including the use of iPads on a number of wards for video calls for those who do not have a phone or tablet.

“The restrictions also apply to patients coming into our hospitals for a routine appointment or presenting in our A&Es. I would like to thank the public for their understanding and our teams for their ongoing hard work at this time.”

Exceptions

There are some exceptions to the restrictions. They include in the children’s ward: "One parent/carer will be allowed to be with the child. Two named visitors are permitted and these visitors can alternate. The same applies for patients under the age of 18, who are not on a paediatric ward."

In maternity: "One birthing partner will be allowed on the antenatal ward during early labour between 8am and 8pm. Once transferred to the delivery suite, one birthing partner can stay until mum and baby are transferred to the postnatal ward.

"Essential visitors only for maternity outpatient appointments e.g. supportive individuals for women with specific communication or care needs, and single adults attending where a woman requires familiar support for consultations which may cause her distress."

"One adult can accompany women to the 12-week dating scan and the 20-week anomaly scans."

At the neonatal unit: "Will allow parents/two named carers per baby only to visit. Parents/nominated carers are able to alternate visiting throughout the 24-hour period, with one hour joint visiting permitted.

For end of life care patients: "Will be permitted to receive visitors but this will be restricted to next of kin and an additional two visitors."

For some people with specific needs: "You will be able to accompany someone into our hospitals if you are: supporting them, and the patient has a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed; a carer for a vulnerable patient, or interpreter; supporting them at an outpatient appointment where they may become distressed.

"Where possible, the person supporting the patient should be from the same household or social bubble as the patient."

Virtual visiting

You should not visit if you are experiencing symptoms, or if you have been in contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed as having Covid-19 in the last 14 days. If your visit relates to a patient receiving end of life care, contact a member of the ward staff.

Visitors to the hospitals are required to wear a surgical face mask provided by the trust on arrival, and must follow all guidance on hand hygiene and social distancing whilst in the hospitals.

The trust is introducing ‘virtual visiting’ on a number of wards, which means that patients who do not have a phone or tablet of their own can use one of the hospital’s devices to video call their family and friends. Details are available at sath.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/visiting-a-patient/.

Family and friends are also able to send a message to a patient in hospital through the trust’s ‘send your loved one a message' scheme at sath.nhs.uk/covid19/contactapatient/.

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