Changes to visiting at our inpatient wards

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay indoors in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now introducing new measures to protect us all during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This means that we have made changes to visitor arrangements from now (24 March) until further notice.

As such it has become necessary to stop visitors to our inpatient wards. We appreciate that this may cause distress to both patients and their loved ones, but can assure you this is not a decision we have taken lightly.

The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit are listed below.

• The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care.

• You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.

• You are supporting someone with a mental health problem such as; dementia, a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements.

Your health, safety and wellbeing, that of our patients, communities and individuals and teams across the organisation remain our absolute priority.

We are currently looking at alternative options to support contact for those people who require ongoing support to keep them well. Where possible, please use either a mobile phone or social media to stay in touch and speak to the appropriate ward to discuss other options for maintaining contact.

We will be reviewing these arrangements regularly depending upon the circumstances and as things change.

Please rest assured we have fully scoped out the procedure for transferring our patients to hospital to receive treatment not able to be provided in a mental health setting.

Our staff understand that this may be a worrying time for you and will do their best to keep you updated.

The best and latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19) is on www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this challenging time.