Visiting will be suspended for three weeks in west Suffolk hospitals from Wednesday, 27 October.
It is due to the high number of Covid-19 infections in the community, in Ipswich in particular, and the increasing number of patients with Covid-19 in both Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals.
The changes will apply at West Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, and all community hospitals in east and west Suffolk with the exceptions of:
- End-of-life care
- Those in formal caring roles for patients with learning disabilities or severe dementia, for example
- Parents of children
There will be no changes in these areas.
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust chief nurse of Sue Wilkinson said: “We have not taken this decision lightly, as we know how much patients and relatives value visiting.
“Our priority, however, has to be keeping those vulnerable patients in our care as safe as possible, and with the high levels of Covid-19 cases in the county currently that means reducing the number of people coming into our hospitals.
“Relatives can use our dedicated helpline and video calling services to keep in touch with loved ones while they are in our care.”
Relatives of West Suffolk patients can keep updated on loved ones via a dedicated clinical helpline, by calling 01284 713155 between 10am and 6pm, seven days a week.
West Suffolk Hospital also offers a free video calling service for patients without their own digital devices.
At West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, visiting restrictions apply to patients at West Suffolk Hospital and Glastonbury Court in Bury St Edmunds, and Newmarket Community Hospital.
The situation will be reviewed in two weeks, in line with hospital admissions and community Covid-19 infection rates.
A decision will then be made about whether to continue for the full three-week period or return to a restricted visiting policy.
Sue and Giles added: “We would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience, support and understanding. We will keep the situation under close review and will make changes as quickly and as safely as we can.”