23 October 2020

Visiting has been suspended to all wards at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital, Telford, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This decision has not been made lightly and aims to reduce the number of people coming into the hospitals, in order to protect patients.

The changes are now in effect and will remain in place until further notice.

There were some wards that had introduced a new visiting policy which allowed one visitor per patient – but they will now fall under the new restrictions.

Hayley Flavell, the Trust’s Director of Nursing, said: “This has been a difficult decision for us to make but the health and safety, and wellbeing, of our patients, staff and visitors is our utmost priority.

“We understand that this is a worrying time for patients, their family and friends, and we are sorry for any distress that this may cause. In line with our usual practice, ward staff will contact next of kin if a patient in our care becomes seriously ill or if there are changes to their treatment.

“We have also put measures in place to help those in hospital communicate with their loved ones, including the use of iPads on a number of wards for video calls for those who do not have a phone or tablet.

“The restrictions also apply to patients coming into our hospitals for a routine appointment or presenting in our A&Es. I would like to thank the public for their understanding and our teams for their ongoing hard work at this time.”

There are some exceptions to the restrictions which are:

  • Children’s Ward:
  • One parent/carer will be allowed to be with the child. Two named visitors are permitted and these visitors can alternate. The same applies for patients under the age of 18, who are not on a paediatric ward.
  • Maternity:
  • One birthing partner will be allowed on the antenatal ward during early labour between 8am and 8pm. Once transferred to the delivery suite, one birthing partner can stay until mum and baby are transferred to the postnatal ward.
  • Essential visitors only for maternity outpatient appointments e.g. supportive individuals for women with specific communication or care needs, and single adults attending where a woman requires familiar support for consultations which may cause her distress
  • One adult can accompany women to the 12 week dating scan and the 20 week anomaly scans
  • Neonatal unit:
  • Will allow parents/two named carers per baby only to visit. Parents/nominated carers are able to alternate visiting throughout the 24hr period, with one hour joint visiting permitted
  • End of life care patients:
  • Will be permitted to receive visitors but this will be restricted to next of kin and an additional two visitors
  • Specific needs:
  • You will be able to accompany someone into our hospitals if you are:
    • supporting them and the patient has a mental health issue such as dementia; a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
    • a carer for a vulnerable patient, or interpreter
    • supporting them at an outpatient appointment where they may become distressed
    • where possible, the person supporting the patient should be from the same household or social bubble as the patient

You should not visit if you are experiencing symptoms, or if you have been in contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 in the last 14 days. If your visit relates to a patient receiving end of life care, please contact a member of the ward staff.

Visitors to RSH and PRH are required to wear a surgical face mask provided by the Trust on arrival; and must follow all guidance on hand hygiene and social distancing whilst in the hospitals.

The Trust is introducing ‘Virtual Visiting’ on a number of wards, which means that patients who do not have a phone or tablet of their own can use one of the hospital’s devices to video call their family and friends. Details are available on the website here: https://www.sath.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/visiting-a-patient/.

Family and friends are also able to send a message to a patient in hospital through the Trust’s ‘Send Your Loved One a Message Scheme’ here: https://www.sath.nhs.uk/covid19/contactapatient/