From Wednesday, visiting on the Royal’s general wards and its maternity ward will operate through a designated visitor system – already running in some other hospitals in the UK.
Patients allocate a specific person – which could include a spouse, partner or close friend – as their designated visitor for up to one week at a time.
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At the Royal, each bed in a bay and each bed in a side-room will be given a set one-hour visiting slot and designated visitors will be asked to visit during that time. They will have to sign in and out of the ward, leave a contact number for tracing and follow social distancing measures.
They will also need to wash their hands and use sanitiser – and wear a face covering throughout the duration of their visit.
Chief operating officer Tony Campbell, responsible for leading the Royal’s incident team, said: “We appreciate that it’s been really hard for people not to see loved ones who have been in hospital throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, although rightly we have always offered compassionate visiting for patients who are extremely vulnerable or at the end of their life.“Now that we’ve risk assessed the whole site, we’ve decided to reintroduce limited visiting on our general wards as well as our maternity ward.
“It’s a cautious approach designed to try and strike a delicate balance between keeping loved ones connected at an anxious time, while keeping them protected from possible infection.
“We will be running a designated visitor system – and while it won’t necessarily be the best solution for everyone, we feel it’s a fair compromise.
“This allows us to give every patient the opportunity to have a visitor during their hospital stay.”
Compassionate visiting – to be with babies, children, women in labour, other vulnerable patients and those critically ill or at the end of life – will remain the same and individual needs can be discussed with hospital staff.
Some areas – like A&E – will continue to remain exempt from visiting to protect patients.
For more information, visit www.chesterfieldroyal.nhs.uk