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Ward visiting slots reopen across East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust



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Ward visiting slots have reopened across all East Suffolk and North Essex (ESNEFT) NHS Foundation Trust hospitals.

The trust is responsible for Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, as well as Aldeburgh and Felixstowe community hospitals.

The majority of ward visiting had to be suspended last month due to the impact of coronavirus across the trust's hospitals and the consequent impact on staffing.

Ipswich Hospital, part of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: Google.
Ipswich Hospital, part of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust. Picture: Google.

Current rules are that two people can now visit a patient at their bedside, 24 hours after they have been admitted to a ward or assessment unit for one hour a day.

All visiting slots must be booked in advance with ward teams.

The new rules do not apply to people visiting the trust's hospitals in exceptional or compassionate circumstances, such as end of life care, where more open visiting remains in place.

Carers may also stay with a patient as needed and be substituted by a visitor.

Up to three people can see a patient for the duration of their hospital stay – but only two out of the three visitors may visit a ward together.

Giles Thorpe, ESNEFT's chief nurse, said: “It is great news that we are now able to welcome visitors back on to our wards again.

"We know how important seeing someone you love is when you’re in hospital and we are sorry we had to take that away from people for a time.

"Any decision to suspend visiting isn’t one that we take lightly as we appreciate the upset and distress it can cause, but we had to take action when we did to keep everyone safe in our hospitals.

"This is always our number one priority.

“I would like to thank our communities for their support and understanding while we had to close the majority of ward visiting, and hope this is welcome news today for both our patients and their families.”