The temporary suspension of visiting across the hospitals ran by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been reintroduced with immediate effect due to a rise in COVID-19 cases locally.
This follows the reintroduction of limited visiting arrangements across the Trust at the beginning of last week.
Lynne Wyre, Deputy Chief Nurse, said: We are extremely sad to have to make the decision to temporarily suspend visiting at our hospitals again but given the rise in COVID-19 cases locally, it is necessary to keep our staff and patients safe.
“We understand that visiting is very important to our patients and their loved ones and as soon as we are able to lift the suspension, we will. In the meantime, we would ask for the public’s help in respecting these rules to help us all stay safe.”
Until further notice, visiting across Furness General Hospital, the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Westmorland General Hospital and Millom Hospital is only permitted if:
- The patient is receiving end-of-life care
- The visitor is a birthing partner for a woman in labour or to their 20-week scan
- The visitor is a parent or appropriate adult visiting their child (one named parent or guardian can still be with their child at all times during their stay on the children's wards or neonatal units)
- The visitor is supporting someone with dementia, a learning disability, autism, or something similar - 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
Visitors for the above must be agreed with the nurse in charge of the ward before attending the hospital. Please agree one main point of contact per patient and this should be the only person that contacts the ward by telephone to arrange visiting.
To enable patients to keep that important contact with their family and friends, the Trust has put a number of things in place, including:
- Teams across the Trust are encouraging patients to keep in touch via their smartphone or tablet if they are able to - using the Trust’s free WiFi
- Relatives and friends can share messages with loved ones in hospital by filling in the form at: https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/get-in-touch/staying-connected-your-lovedones. The message is then delivered direct to the patient
- A small supply of iPads is available in each hospital to allow patients to video call their family and friends
Lynne concluded: “The support we have had from our patients and the local communities has been second to none and we would like to thank everyone for their understanding during this incredibly difficult time.
“I’d like to reassure patients that we have lots of measures in place to keep everyone safe whilst they are in our hospitals or community settings, and we would encourage them to still attend any planned appointments they have unless they are told otherwise.
“We will, of course, keep these restrictions under review and update everyone when we are in a position to safely lift the restrictions.”
The public should not visit any health and care settings if they are unwell (especially if they have a high temperature; a new, persistent cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell and taste). If they do feel unwell, they can use the NHS 111 online service at https://111.nhs.uk/ for advice.