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Suffolk hospitals suspend visiting due to rising Covid-19 figures

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Hospital patients in Suffolk will no longer be able to see their loved ones due to an increase in Covid-19 figures.

From Wednesday, visiting will be suspended for three weeks at West Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and community hospitals in the east and west of the county.

Exceptions to this suspension include those receiving end-of-life care, parents of children, maternity and those in formal caring roles for patients.

Ipswich Hospital entrance. Picture: Google Maps
Ipswich Hospital entrance. Picture: Google Maps

At West Suffolk Hospital, relatives of patients will be able to keep updated on their loved ones via a clinical helpline, which is open seven days a week. Alternatively, the hospital offers a free video calling service for those without their own digital devices.

Sue Wilkinson, chief nurse at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We have not taken this decision lightly, as we know how much patients and relatives value visiting.

“Our priority, however, has to be keeping those vulnerable patients in our care as safe as possible, and with the high levels of Covid-19 cases in the county currently that means reducing the number of people coming into our hospitals.

Visiting has also been suspended at Newmarket Community Hospital.
Visiting has also been suspended at Newmarket Community Hospital.

“Relatives can use our dedicated helpline and video calling services to keep in touch with loved ones while they are in our care.”

Visiting restrictions in West Suffolk will also apply at Glastonbury Court, in Bury St Edmunds, and Newmarket Community Hospital.

Chief nurse at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Giles Thorpe, added: "Our number one priority is to keep everyone – patients, visitors and staff – safe, and one of the ways we can do this is to reduce the number of people in our hospitals.

“This is not a decision we have made easily. We know how much it means to our patients to have visitors and how important visiting is to families and friends of a loved one in hospital, too. However, we have made this decision to keep all our patients and staff safe.

“Considering the rising number of Covid-19 infections across Suffolk and that there are now more people in hospital with the virus, we need to take this action now.”

The changes will apply at Ipswich Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital and Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich.

Cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in the county. Last week, the case rate per 100,000 people rose to 569.1.

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