South London hospitals ban most in-patients visitors over soaring Covid rates

·2-min read

A south London hospital trust has banned adult in-patients from having visitors unless there are “exceptional circumstances,” because of soaring Covid rates.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said the visitor ban would apply to University Hospital Lewisham and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich from 9am on Wednesday.

It means most in-patients will not be allowed visitors, although women giving birth, those on end-of-life care, and children in paediatric wards are among those being allowed at least one visitor.

“From this date, the majority of adult hospital inpatients will not be permitted to have visitors during their stay. This is due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the community and in our hospitals,” said a trust spokesperson in a statement.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but – under the current circumstances – we do need to do everything we can to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.

“We are keeping the situation under regular review and we will relax the visiting arrangements as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Under the new rules, those on end-of-life care will be allowed up to four visitors, “where arrangements can be made safely,” with their loved ones having to wear PPE on visits.

Women giving birth will be allowed one birthing partner, and to attend antenatal clinics in the hospitals with one other person.

Patients in critical care will be permitted visitors in “exceptional circumstances”, and at the discretion of the clinical teams caring for them.

Both parents will be allowed to visit children who are in-patients at the hospitals, according to the statement, and mother and father or partner will be allowed to visit babies in neonatal intensive care.

Where visitors are allowed, proof of a negative lateral flow within the last 24 hours is being required to be allowed into the hospitals.

The decision comes after the UK posted another record day for Covid cases, with 138,831 reported in England, Scotland and Wales alone on Tuesday.

Fresh restrictions have already come into force in all Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in response to the Omicron surge - but ministers in England have ruled out new measures before 2022.

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