Harwich Town Council

The Guildhall,
Church Street,
Harwich. CO12 3DS

t: 01255 507211
e: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk
Hours: 9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Restricted ward visiting to be reintroduced in all ESNEFT hospitals

From Monday, 14 February, we will be reopening ward visiting slots once again in all our hospitals.

We understand that the suspension of most ward visiting since the beginning of the year has been difficult for patients, their loved ones, and staff alike.

The policy has been kept under weekly review by our Infection Prevention and Control team and although we still have COVID-19 inpatients in our wards, we want to reintroduce some visiting to support patient wellbeing, reassure their loved ones and support staff too. We must continue to have measures in place though to keep everyone safe when they’re in our hospitals.

We’ll be asking a patient’s nominated key contact to call to book their visits from Monday, 14 February when the following rules will be in place:

  • One named visitor may visit a patient for one hour a day after they have been in hospital for 24 hours. This does not apply to visiting in exceptional or compassionate circumstances, such as end of life care where more open visiting is in place
  • Visitors are urged to be vaccinated (two doses) and, ideally, boosted against COVID-19 and to take a rapid lateral flow test (LFT) for COVID-19 on the day of their visit

This is so we can continue to keep everyone – patients, visitors, and staff – safe. This remains our top priority.

The key things to remember about visiting ESNEFT wards are:

  • One named visitor may visit a patient on a ward for one hour a day after they have been in hospital for 24 hours
  • Visiting slots must be booked in advance with ward teams
  • A patient’s nominated key contact should remain the point of contact for all bookings
  • Visiting times will be staggered over a 12-hour period to keep footfall to a minimum
  • The visitor must be the same person for the duration of a patient’s stay. If that person tests positive for COVID-19, a substitute visitor may be nominated
  • Visits to COVID-19 wards and any bays on wards that are closed due to COVID-19 are not possible. However, exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care, still apply, and will be arranged by ward leaders
  • Exceptions to visiting rules (that were originally in place) still stand. These are: end of life care, those in formal caring roles for patients with, for example, learning disabilities or severe dementia, parents of children and maternity.
  • Children are not able to visit wards, apart from in exceptional or compassionate circumstances

Please note there will be no changes in A&E or Outpatients – existing COVID-19 visiting restrictions remain in place in those departments.

Visitors will be expected to:

  • Be vaccinated (two doses) and, ideally, boosted against COVID-19. You will be asked to show your COVID-19 vaccination status in the NHS app, or you can bring in your vaccination card if they do not have a smartphone
  • Take a rapid lateral flow test (LFT) for COVID-19 before their visit and show the evidence of a negative test result to ward staff, either through a photo of the test strip or via the NHS app. Tests can be ordered on the Government website
  • Always wear a surgical face mask – unless you are medically exempt. If this is the case, please make ward teams aware as they will be able to offer you alternative face protection
  • Follow social distancing guidance
  • Wash/sanitise your hands when entering and leaving the ward and hospital buildings
  • Report to ward reception upon arrival for your visit
  • Avoid using hospital toilets, shops, and cafes, where possible. This is so we can continue to limit footfall in these areas and keep everyone safe in our hospitals

Visitors are urged to familiarise themselves with the Trust’s visiting policy and ask ward teams any questions they may have at the time of booking their visit. They are here to support patient’s loved ones with understanding the visiting policy and the Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team is also available to help.

Mortuary visiting  

Visits to our mortuaries will be supported from Monday 14 February. The Trust’s general visiting policy and principles regarding COVID-19 vaccination status, LFT testing and wearing a surgical face mask, will also apply.

The maximum number of people who may attend an appointment is limited to two named visitors only. This is so we can maintain social distancing in the viewing room and our waiting areas. Viewings are by appointment only and must be booked in advance.

There is still no requirement to visit our sites in-person to collect a medical certificate of Cause of Death. This process continues to be managed electronically between our hospitals and the Registration Service.