Guidance for all visitors

Advice for visitors of in-patients

We know this is a difficult time for patients and visitors, and we thank you for your understanding and help in keeping our hospitals safe.

To help us reduce the number of people in our hospitals and the risk of infection, visitors are not allowed in our hospitals, except in some circumstances where we will endeavour to support compassionate visiting arrangements. Please check with the ward manager about visiting arrangements. They will explain if visiting is possible and the specific arrangements in place.
Circumstances may include:

  • a patient receiving end of life care (please see next section for further detail)
  • if you are supporting someone with a mental health issue, such as dementia, a learning disability or autism
  • where the attendance of a key contact will benefit a patient's clinical condition or wellbeing (ward staff will get in touch if a visit will be beneficial)
  • one parent or guardian for a child
  • patients accessing maternity services

If you are permitted to visit, you will need to wear a face mask at all times during your visit. Some visitors may need to wear further personal protective equipment and this will be discussed on an individual basis. 

You’ll also be asked to read and sign our visitor’s code of conduct which shares vital information about our infection prevention and control procedures which you will need to follow. You will also be issued a visitor’s pass which is valid for two weeks. Each time you visit the hospital you will need to show this on arrival.

Visitors need to be aged 17 or over to visit. In some circumstances, it may be possible for a child aged between 11-16 to visit, but this will depend on if it is safe for them to do so. Please speak to the ward manager about this. Unfortunately children aged under 11 will not be able to visit.

If you or someone you live with has COVID-19 (coronavirus) or any symptoms of it, you cannot visit the ward. If you are not sure, please speak to a member of staff. Symptom information and advice on what to do next is available

Advice for supporting compassionate visiting arrangements for those receiving care at the end of life

These measures relate to visits to a patient’s bedside, for those patients who are very close to the end of their lives (24 to 48hrs), recognising that this can be difficult to assess with accuracy.  Our aim is to minimise the risk of infection, whilst also allowing close family members or friends to visit  and say goodbye to their loved ones at the end of their life, and for visits from faith leaders (including chaplains) if desired.

Where it is possible to maintain social distancing throughout the visit, a second additional visitor may be permitted. Please speak to the ward manager about arranging your visit. At present, we are unable to accommodate visits without notice, due to the arrangements required to facilitate your visit.

Usually, though, the number of visitors at the bedside is limited to one close family contact or somebody important to the dying person. In circumstances where the visitor requires assistance, two visitors will be accommodated as long as both following the guidelines. Accessible communication needs will be considered when communicating the process with patients and carers with disabilities, i.e. visual & hearing impairments and / or learning disabilities. An interpreter can be provided for those where English is not their first language. Visiting will be restricted to those assessed as able to wear PPE.

Unfortunately, owing to resource capacity and infection risk, we are unable to sustain high numbers of visitors to our wards at any one time. We will therefore be providing visitors with specific, time limited, visiting times.

We are continuing to review and update this guidance in line with the relevant national guidelines. This advice is based on the current NHS guidance (November 2020); a link to which can be found here:

Advice for out-patients

If you are visiting one of our hospitals or clinics for an appointment, please come alone.  Only bring someone to accompany you if absolutely necessary.  You will need to wear a face mask when visiting the hospital.

Advice for people using our emergency and urgent care services

Adults using our emergency departments or urgent care centre services are advised to come alone.  One adult only is permitted to accompany a child visiting our emergency or urgent care services. You will need to wear a face mask when visiting the hospital.

Attending our premises

We are also asking members of the public not to attend our premises unless they are attending an appointment or visiting the emergency departments or urgent care centre.

General advice for patients and visitors

Please remember that if you, or someone you live in the same house as, experiences coronavirus symptoms – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature and/or loss of smell or taste – please do not visit the hospital.  Self-isolate and visit NHS 111 online for further advice.

All patients and visitors to our hospitals will need to wear a face mask and are asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water as soon as they enter the hospital and when they leave. Frequent handwashing is effective at reducing the spread of infection.

Thank you for your co-operation and help in respecting these changes.


What to expect if you are allowed to visit a patient on a ward

Anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell) should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others.

Before you arrive

The visit will need to be arranged in advance and you will be given instructions on where to go and who to ask for on your arrival. 

You must wear a facemask.

It is a good idea to write down any questions you have before arriving at the hospital as you may forget. You can also bring in cards / letters from loved ones.

You should drive, or be driven, to the hospital in order to minimise the risk of exposure to others, particularly if the household is self-isolating following contact with your loved one.

You will be allowed to bring a mobile phone with you but please bring as few belongings as possible to minimise the risk of infection.

You should remove outer clothing e.g. coat or jacket and leave these with the person who has brought you in, if you can. Please then roll up your sleeves.

You should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival at the hospital. Frequent handwashing is effective at reducing the spread of infection. There are also hand sanitising points around the hospital, please feel free to use them.

We practice social distancing where possible in the hospital and you will be asked to adhere to this during your visit although on the ward you will witness that this is not always possible when caring for patients.

You should consider going to the toilet and having a small drink before putting on personal protective equipment (PPE), as this helps to avoid the need to put on and take off PPE more than once during the visit.  PPE will usually consist of gloves, gown, mask and a visor.

Arriving on the ward

As part of our measures to help keep our hospitals safe, you may need to have your temperature taken and be asked some questions about your general health (for example if you have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms) before being allowed to enter the hospital/ward.

You will be informed about what to expect when you see your loved one. We will also ask you to read and sign our visitors code of conduct, which sets out some important infection prevention and control information that you will need to follow.

You will be provided with appropriate PPE by staff and guided on where to clean your hands, how to put on the PPE and how to maintain social distancing between visitors, staff and other patients.

If you are not clear about the PPE please ask the staff supporting you.

Please ensure that you tell staff if you have any allergies to latex.

During your visit

Our staff will do what they can to support you during your visit and will advise you of any risks of visiting.

Please follow all instructions given by our staff, they will guide you to remove all PPE appropriately.

All visitors to our hospitals are asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water when they leave. Frequent handwashing is effective at reducing the spread of infection.

When you leave

As long as PPE is worn, you will not need to self-isolate after the visit.  This is the case too if you have been to the intensive care unit and had a mask specifically fitted.  However, if the mask cannot be specifically fitted prior to the intensive care unit visit, you will be advised to self-isolate.  You will be advised of this by ward staff when arranging your visit.

You should stay at least 2 metres away from others as you leave the ward/hospital and avoid touching any surfaces.

Leave the ward/hospital as quickly as possible, using the most direct route, and go straight home.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.

Wash your hands again with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home.

Put your clothes on a hot wash as soon as you get home, and have a shower.

Follow stay at home guidance if you become unwell.