The visiting restrictions put in place earlier this year to protect patients, visitors and staff in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, are being eased at Herefordshire’s hospitals this week.

This will be good news for patients who have been in hospital for ten days or more who will now be able to have visitors under a restricted visiting regime – although no children under the age of 16 will be permitted to visit other than in exceptional circumstances.

Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs Hereford County Hospital and the community hospitals at Ross-on-Wye, Leominster and Bromyard, appreciates the benefits receiving visitors has on its patients and feels the time is now right to allow visitors into its hospitals.

Lucy Flanagan, Director of Nursing at the Trust, said: “We want to pay tribute to all those patients who have been in hospital during the last few months and who have not been allowed to see visitors.

“We know this hasn’t been easy but want to thank them for respecting the visiting restrictions, this has enabled us to ensure patients are being treated in the safest environment possible.

“We know patients benefit from seeing visitors and during the outbreak we’ve made use of technology to allow virtual visitors onto our wards, we also introduced the “thinking of you” and “hearts connected” initiatives.

“We appreciate this isn’t the same as having a real person beside your bed so we’re pleased to be able to lift visiting restrictions in a way which is safe for our patients, visitors and staff members.

“There are still a few areas of the hospital where we cannot safely allow visitors, so the restrictions have not entirely been lifted, but for those patients who have been in for ten days or more, it now means they can now see visitors.”

All visitors will be screened at the entrance to the hospital – this means having temperatures checked and checks made to ensure they are not at risk of bringing an infection onto the hospital site.

Visitors will also be required to wear a surgical mask and maintain good hand hygiene. Patients will also be required to wear a surgical mask during the visit if clinically appropriate.

The visiting arrangements at Hereford County Hospital are:

PaediatricsNo change – a nominated parent or carer can be present at all times
Maternity1 birth partner can attend delivery suite throughout the stay1 birth partner can attend triage for labour assessment1 birth partner can attend for Induction of labour process between 10am-6pmOn the maternity ward – for antenatal women 1x birth partner can visit between 4-6pm, for postnatal women 1x partner or visitor can visit for 1x2hr session either between 10am-12pm, or  4pm-6pm (via appointment to ensure no more than 2 visitors per bay)
Intensive Care UnitFrome Ward (covid area)Aucte Medical UnitOrthopaedic unit GAU (covid-free elective surgery area)Visiting currently not permitted – however special arrangements will be made for patients receiving end of life care.
Monnow WardLeadon WardRedbrook WardWye WardLugg WardCCU WardArrow WardTeme WardFrome Ward (covid-free area)Visiting is permitted for patients who have been in hospital for ten days or moresingle nominated visitor will be permitted to visit the patient for the duration of their stay (not multiple visitors on different occasions)All visits must be booked by prior appointment with the nurse in chargeVisiting hours Monday to Friday 6-7 pm, Sat/Sun 2-3 pmMaximum of two visitors at any one time in multiple bedded baysFor Leadon and Monnow Ward the maximum number of visitors in the main ward area is 8 (4 per 7 bedded section) plus side rooms

Visiting arrangements at WVT’s community hospitals are:

SiteTimeSlotsMax no of visitors per slot
Leominster3pm-3.30pm3.30pm-4pm6pm-6.30pm6.30pm-7pm4 x ½ hour slots5
Ross (weekdays)5.45pm-6.15pm6.30pm-7pm2 x ½ hour slots9
Ross (weekends)2.45pm-3.15pm3.15pm-4pm2 x ½ hour slots9
Bromyard1pm-5pmMax 1 hour slots6

“Where there have been exceptional circumstances we have allowed visitors during the pandemic and this will continue. We understand every patient is different, as are their needs and those of their family members.

“All we ask is that any visit is booked with the nurse in charge first,” added Lucy.