Patients and visitors asked to wear face masks when visiting hospital from next week
The public will see changes when they visit or attend hospital for outpatient visits from next week (15 June) at Cromer Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
New national guidelines mean patients and visitors coming to hospital will be expected to wear a face covering, which could be a scarf or homemade mask, or they will be offered a face mask to wear when they enter the clinic or ward. Hospital staff will be wearing surgical face masks to protect patients. Visitors will also be encouraged to keep a physical distance from other people as they move through the building, wash their hands regularly, and use the alcohol gel dispensers on entering and leaving the hospital.
Most outpatient consultations will continue to be conducted over the telephone or by video call. For urgent and emergency outpatient visits, patients will be met by a member of staff as they enter the clinic area and asked a few simple health questions, have their temperature taken and directed to a seating area which is socially distanced from other people in the clinic.
Wherever possible, patients are being asked to attend their outpatient appointment alone and no more than 15 minutes before the time of their appointment. There are exceptions for patients with dementia, learning disabilities and other conditions where a carer needs to attend. The same procedures will apply to anyone accompanying a patient to hospital.
Hospital visiting is still strictly limited to control the spread of Covid-19. Visiting is only allowed in exceptional circumstances, such as the end of life, for birthing partners, parents of children and where a patient has particular needs such as a learning disability or mental health issue. The hospital is supporting families to keep in touch with their loved ones using ipads, best wishes messages and a Relatives’ Liaison Team which provides reassurance and peace of mind for next of kin. The hospital visiting policy is being kept under review as circumstances change.
Professor Nancy Fontaine, Chief Nurse, says: “We know that coming to hospital at the present time might cause our patients some anxiety and worry.
“We want to reassure you that the NHS is here for you and we have your safety in mind with the highest possible levels of protection and infection control.
“We have made some changes to our hospitals to reduce the risks so if you have been here before, you might find things are different. Please wear you own face covering when coming to hospital or we will provide one for you. You can also protect your health with regular hand washing and using alcohol gel as you enter and leave the hospital.
“We want the safest possible environment for our patients and visitors and we will be taking extra steps to ensure social distancing, screening on arrival and extra hygiene measures.”
Patients and visitors must not attend appointments if they should be self-isolating because they, or somebody close to them, has, or has had, symptoms of Covid-19 such as a high temperature, new, continuous cough, or loss or change to their sense of smell or taste.
Notes for editors
Visiting is only allowed in exceptional circumstances where one person (an immediate family member or carer) may visit:
• The patient is receiving end-of-life care
• You’re the birthing partner of a woman in labour
• You’re a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child
• You’re supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, and not being present would cause them distress.