Patient visiting restrictions
As our hospitals care for vulnerable patients and continue to be high-risk locations for COVID-19, our restrictions remain tighter than other locations.
All visiting is suspended, except in the special circumstances listed below.
However, if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive, or should be self-isolating for any reason, you must not attend our hospitals as a visitor under any circumstances.
Guidance on when to self-isolate is available on the NHS website.
If you are self-isolating, please use other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones, such as phone and video calls or our "letters for loved ones" and "parcels for patients" initiatives.
Visits from all friends and relatives of patients are currently suspended on all our hospital sites, except in the following circumstances and with agreement from ward staff.
All visits must be agreed with the ward before visiting the hospital.
- Patients under 18 – two parents or guardians may visit, but only one of these visitors may be in the hospital at any one time (local rules apply for neonatal units)
- Patients at end of life – a maximum of four (two at any one time) close family members/other people important to a patient at the end of their life may visit during the last week of the patient's life
- Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism – one person may visit to provide support if it is agreed with staff that this visitor not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
- Patients with with a mental health condition – one person may be permitted a pre-arranged, one-off visit if required to support the patient's well-being or decisions about their care, where the nurse in charge agrees it is in the patient's best interests
- Patients with specific communication needs – where appropriate and if no alternative is available, one person may be permitted to attend to support the patient with agreement from the nurse in charge
- Patients with spiritual care needs – please ask the ward to contact the Chaplaincy team to arrange support
- If, as part of the patient's care plan, a "do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation" (DNACPR) order is agreed, a visit should be arranged to discuss and support the patient
- A visit before surgery may be arranged if family are informed that the patient may not survive
- Children are not generally permitted to visit. However, consideration will be given to under-18s attending with appropriate support in exceptional circumstances
Specific restrictions apply to visiting maternity patients.
In our A&E departments
In our A&E departments:
- Anyone accompanying a patient to A&E will be asked to wait outside or go home. Please wait to hear from staff whether or not the patient will be admitted or discharged, as we understand you may wish to take your friend/relative home
- A parent can stay with a child up to the age of 18
- One person may accompany the patient in A&E if they meet the circumstances listed above
- In addition, if the patient you are with has a mental health condition, learning disability or autism, and unit staff are escorting the patient, you should be admitted and not counted as a visitor
Additional requirements for visitors
- The authorised visitor(s) for a patient must be the same person/people for each visit. Visitors may not swap, unless permitted by the circumstances outlined above
- If we agree that you may attend to support an inpatient on a site which has been declared free of coronavirus, you must follow specific procedures. Our staff will discuss these procedures with visitors when making visiting arrangements
- On arrival to any ward or department, permitted visitors must immediately wash their hands and report to a senior sister or charge nurse
- Visitors must also wash their hands or use the hand gel when they leave wards
- Visitors must wear a face covering at all times within the hospital. If you are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), e.g. a surgical mask, staff will provide this for you
- If you are unable to wear a mask, staff will discuss alternative options with you, such as virtual visiting. Our wards have access to iPads/tablets to support this so you can still have contact with your relative
Thank you for your continued support with this difficult decision that will help us to better protect staff, visitors and patients from infection.
Our visitor charter
We have created the following visitors’ charter to provide information and to help our patients, visitors and staff get the most out of the visit.
Please note that some of the terms of this charter may be changed due to COVID-19. Please refer to the visitor restrictions above for the most up-to-date guidance.
- be polite and respectful
- listen if there is anything you would like to discuss
- work hard to create a restful environment
- identify people who the patient has a significant or longstanding relationship with (this may or may not be the next of kin) and keep them well informed (with the patient’s permission if they are able to give it)
- support you if you wish to help with your friend or relative's care or meal times. Talk to us about how you can best assist
- put patient care first. This may mean discussing the best time for you to visit
- do all we can to protect patients from infection
- arrange for you to speak to a member of the medical team or other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care
We ask you to:
- be polite and respectful
- talk to us if you have any concerns
- keep noise levels to a minimum and turn off mobile phones or switch them to silent
- nominate one main point of contact for staff to pass information on to (with the patient’s permission if they are able to give it)
- limit the number of visitors to two at any one time
- talk to us about children visiting the ward. Children are welcome with the supervision of an adult, but there are some situations where this would not be appropriate
- not disturb nursing staff when they are administering medications; other staff will be available if you need anything
- be aware that we may ask you to leave if a patient requires privacy or if a medical emergency occurs
- respect the confidentiality and privacy of others by not filming or photographing other patients, visitors or staff without consent
Last reviewed: 01 November 2021