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Visiting Restrictions will ease - Monday 17th May

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 possible.

"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 cannot commend the clinic enough. It is marvellous we have this service at all and well done to you all.'

Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley Bridge Community Hospital