Visiting restrictions to be lifted on some Sunderland and South Tyneside hospital wards

Vistor restrictions are set to be eased on some hospital wards by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust via a new booking system.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 3:12 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 5:26 pm
The Trust is lifting some restrictions on hospital visiting.

The Trust said the system will be introduced from Monday, September 20, on its adult inpatient wards.

Visiting was suspended in some quarters by the Trust back in July as a result of rising Covid-19 cases and an increase in patients being admitted with serious illness.

However, following the roll-out of the vaccine programme, the Trust is to start re-introducing some visiting at its three main hospital sites and IntermediateCare and Rehabilitation (ICAR) Unit based at Houghton Primary Care Centre.

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From Monday, adult inpatients will be able to have one named person visit them through a bookable appointment system. Pregnant women will also now be able to be accompanied by one person during all antenatal appointments and have one person with them during labour and delivery.

Visitors to wards will be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including face mask, gloves and apron during their visit and must also follow guidance around hand washing and social distancing to protect patients and staff.

The Trust said it is also asking that only those who have received both doses of the COVID-19 visit patients as community infections are still high across South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Visitors are also asked to test themselves for COVID-19 at home before they come into the hospital The Turst added that visiting in exceptional circumstances, such as at end of life or to support carers provide essential support to patients with dementia or a learning disability, will continue to operate as it has done throughout the pandemic and will be at the discretion of the nurse in charge.

Restrictions will emain in place across some areas of the hospitals in South Tyneside and Sunderland, including:

One parent or carer can accompany children under 18 in the emergency departments and children’s wards. Patients should continue to come to all outpatient appointments and Emergency Departments alone, except where a carer is required Anyone entering Trust buildings must wear a face mask and keep a social distance in all waiting areas.

The Trust said it will continue to provide virtual visiting via iPads for patients who do not have the means to contact family and friends and will continue to pass on messages, letters and photos through its #SendingLove scheme. Full details of the scheme can be found on the Trust website www.stsft.nhs.uk.

Elaine Coghill, Deputy Chief Nurse at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “We know that visiting is really important to our patients and their families, but we cannot forget that we are still in a global pandemic and we need to take a safe and cautious approach to allowing visitors back into our hospitals.

“Spending time with loved ones is important for the recovery of our patients and undoubtedly has a positive effect on their mental wellbeing. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back, but do ask that they take all necessary precautions. This includes having both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and taking a home test before coming into our buildings.

“We are also asking all visitors to wear personal protective equipment, to wash their hands regularly and to stay away if they feel unwell in any way or have a member of their household with COVID-19.

"The pressures on our hospitals and community services are still significant and we must remember that we care for some of the sickest and most vulnerable people in our community. While we all want to return to some kind of normality, our absolute priority is to protect our patients and our staff.”