Visiting to all wards suspended at Shropshire’s acute hospitals

Visiting has been suspended to all wards at Shropshire’s two acute hospitals to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) 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 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.

The restrictions also apply to patients coming into hospital for a routine appointment or presenting in A&E.

There are some exceptions to the restrictions which are:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Neonatal unit: will allow parents/two named carers per baby only to visit. Parents/nominated carers are able to alternate visiting throughout the 24hr period, with one hour joint visiting permitted
  • 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
  • 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

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, please contact a member of the ward staff.

Visitors to RSH and PRH 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 on the website here: https://www.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’ here: https://www.sath.nhs.uk/covid19/contactapatient/

Share your experience

Please let us know how you have been helped to keep in touch with friends and family in hospital or care homes through the pandemic, what has worked well and what has not worked so well. Your experiences are invaluable in helping service providers provide the best access they can in difficult circumstances. If you have suggestions that can improve access while keeping people safe please include these.

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