Jane McNicholas, Interim Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “We are extremely sad to have to make the decision to temporarily suspend visiting at our hospitals, but it is a necessary step in order to keep our colleagues and patients safe.
“We understand that visiting is so important during a hospital stay, particularly as we approach the New Year, and as soon as we are able to lift the suspension, we will. In the meantime, we ask for the public’s help in respecting these rules to help us all stay safe.”
Visiting at Westmorland General Hospital, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital is only permitted in exceptional circumstances, including the following:
*The patient is receiving end-of-life care
*Pregnant women are allowed to have one partner with them throughout induction or labour and whilst attending their 20 week scan. See further guidance for mums and birthing partners
*1 parent/carer is allowed to stay with their child or baby throughout their time in hospital.
*The visitor is supporting someone with dementia, a learning disability, autism, or something where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed. For patients with dementia, John’s campaign is available for one family member/carer to visit and support the patient as needed
Lynne Wyre, Deputy Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “To make sure that relatives can still reach out and provide comfort to those staying in our hospitals during this time, friends and family can send their loved ones a message via the Trust website which is then delivered to the patient directly. We also have a small supply of iPads in each hospital to allow our patients to video call their family and friends.
“We understand that visiting is very important to our patients and their loved ones and we would like to thank everyone for their understanding during this incredibly difficult time.
“We will, of course, keep these restrictions under review and update everyone when any further changes are to be made.”
As well as the above restrictions, you should not visit any health or care setting if you are unwell, especially if you have symptoms of COVID-19, are a contact of someone who is positive for COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate, or have experienced vomiting or diarrhoea in the last 72 hours.
Your local hospitals remain under extreme pressure as we approach the New Year Bank Holiday weekend. The public can help us by choosing the right NHS service:
If you need urgent medical help but it is not a life-threatening emergency, call NHS 111 or visit nhs.uk where a trained advisor will direct you to the most appropriate service for your needs.
Your local pharmacy team can provide expert advice about over-the-counter medicines to treat many common health conditions, such as colds, aches and pains and tummy troubles, as well as advice on medication and services such as healthy living support. See the Pharmacy opening times over the New Year Bank Holiday.
The latest coronavirus guidance is available on the Government website. A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first 2 doses of the vaccine. Book your COVID-19 booster vaccination appointment.
If you have a friend or relative in one of our hospitals and they are now well enough to go home, please come and get them. Once a patient is well-enough to leave, they are usually better off in their own home, amongst friends in familiar surroundings. This can make a huge difference for those other patients who are now sick and need a hospital bed.