As tentative steps out of lockdown continue, acute and community
hospitals across County Durham and Darlington have announced that
from today, they're easing some of the visitor restrictions
introduced last year to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Noel Scanlon, executive director of nursing, at County Durham
and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said, "Introducing
restrictions on our patients receiving visitors was a very
difficult decision, made in response to both very worrying Covid
infection rates locally, and national guidance. We know this
hasn't been easy for patients and their loved ones, so we're
absolutely delighted that, from today, we're able to begin lifting
restrictions. Of course, we all know how quickly infection
rates can change so we'll keep a close eye on these to keep
patients, our staff - and the wider community - as safe as
"From today, and in line with step three of the national
lockdown easing, patients will be able to have one visitor per day,
for up to an hour. This will also apply to young patients on our
children's wards, in addition to the resident parent or carer
already permitted. Keeping the numbers of people coming
into our buildings to a minimum is still important so, for example,
it won't be possible for two family members to each visit for 30
minutes. Visits will also need to be booked in advance
with the ward team.
"Our maternity, post-natal and neonatal teams are also relaxing
some restrictions from today - we ask people to contact their
midwife or ask ward staff for details.
"Visitors will notice social distancing measures in place,
including directional guidance in corridors and a maximum of two
people in lifts. With very few exceptions, face coverings are
required in all public areas and hand gel is available and should
be applied at our entrances. It's really important everyone
works with us and complies with these measures, social distancing
in particular, to minimise the risk of infection - we all need to
continue playing our part.
"We also continue to ask families to leave items for patients,
other than valuables, with our reception teams, rather than taking
them to wards themselves. Our porters are delivering items as
soon as possible on the same day.
"We'll continue to help patients have virtual visits, using
iPads. We're also continuing with our popular Stay in Touch
service for relatives to email a message which, if received before
3.00pm, is printed then hand delivered on the same day - helping
keep patients connected to loved ones.
"We're incredibly grateful for the continued support, patience
and understanding from our local communities as we take these
cautious steps forward."
Published: 14 May 2021
'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their
Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital