Visiting arrangements to Northern Ireland hospitals have been suspended from today, January 15.
Alert Level 5 has come into effect from Friday – the highest of alerts, and no face-to-face visits are permitted.
Some exceptions may be made for those receiving end-of-life care.
A Level 5 alert means:
- A material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed – extremely strict social distancing.
- Visiting and accompanying of visitors will be limited as follows
- No face to face visiting – however following a risk assessment and ensuring a COVID secure environment end of life visiting only may be considered.
- In maternity units, the birth partner will be facilitated to accompany the pregnant woman to dating scan, early pregnancy clinic, anomaly scan, Fetal Medicine Department, when admitted to individual room for active labour (to be determined by midwife) and birth.
- In paediatric wards, one parent or carer is permitted to attend.
In hospice facilities, one friend, family member or carer may be permitted access to visit – where the environment is assessed as COVID secure – for up to one hour per day.
In care homes, indoor visiting in resident rooms is allowed for end of life visiting. Where the home is not in an outbreak, visiting should be facilitated where there are well ventilated designated rooms/visiting pods.
For full details, CLICK HERE.
In an update to visiting guidance from the Belfast Trust said “this change in visiting arrangements is required to protect patients, their families and all staff”.
“We are now asking the public not to arrange any meeting with any patients in any public areas or dining areas on our hospital sites. We would ask you to respect this request; otherwise, we will need to close our canteens to all visitors, which will impact on those visitors who are coming to the hospital under special circumstance and may need to avail of refreshments.
“We recognise that these changes will be difficult and you may feel anxious while your loved one is in hospital. However, we ask that you continue to work with us at this time in our collective efforts to keep everyone safe.
“Our Patient Liaison service is available between 9am and 8pm. This service is supported by a registered nurse and is dedicated to supporting you with any enquiry about your loved one.”
Patient Liaison can be reached on 02890240503.
A statement from the Western Trust added: “Due to the very high levels of COVID-19 transmission across our community, the four UK Chief Medical Officers have advised that we now move into Alert level 5, which requires the strictest of social distancing given the threat that health and social care services could become overwhelmed and therefore impacts on visiting to all care settings across Northern Ireland.
“Subsequently the Western Trust has assessed all elements of risk and in order to protect patients, visitors and staff, the decision has been made to temporarily suspend visiting on all sites and facilities within the Western Trust. This suspension will now apply from midnight on Thursday 14 January 2021.
“All Western Trust COVID19 updates will be on the Western Trust Website COVID-19 Updates page.”
-- to www.belfastlive.co.uk