Home NORTHERN IRELAND NEWS N.I. Health Trusts suspend visiting

N.I. Health Trusts suspend visiting


The Northern Health Trust has announced new visiting restrictions which will come into effect from tomorrow, Friday, January 15.

These restrictions will affect all care settings within the trust and are following guidance that was issued by the Chief Nursing Officer earlier this week.

Setting out the details, the Trust published the following:

In response to increasing COVID-19 transmissions, the restrictive policies aim to balance all the potential risks against the unintended harm to patients and residents in respect of, safety and quality of care, quality of life, continuity of care, outcomes, and emotional and psychological distress.

With effect from 15 January 2021, no face-to-face visiting will be permitted in any health and care facility bar a small number of exceptions.

General hospital – No face-to-face visiting. The only exception to this is end-of-life visiting where it is possible to facilitate this in a COVID-19 secure environment.

Maternity – Birth partner will be facilitated to accompany the pregnant woman to dating scan, early pregnancy clinic, anomaly scan, Fetal Maternal Assessment Unit, when admitted to individual room for active labour (to be determined by midwife) and birth. Only virtual visiting is permitted on the maternity wards.

Paediatric & Neonatal – Any child admitted can be accompanied by one of two nominated parents / caregivers at any given time for the duration of the stay.

Mental health and learning disability – One person to visit and only where it is deemed necessary to support the mental health and wellbeing of the patient. Alternatives to face-to-face visiting for all others.

Emergency Departments, X-ray and Day Procedure Units – One person can be facilitated to accompany the patient only where the patient is unable to understand or communicate with staff.

Outpatient Departments (OPD) – While it is likely that most OPD appointments will be cancelled, one person can be facilitated to accompany the patient only where the patient is unable to understand or communicate with staff.

Cancer, burns and renal units – End of life visiting only.

Hospice – Where the environment is COVID-19 secure, one friend, family member or carer may be permitted access to visit for up to one hour per day. End-of-life visiting should also be facilitated as long as it can be done so in a COVID-19 secure environment.

Care Homes – Indoor visiting in resident rooms is permitted for end-of-life visiting.

Any visitors permitted access must maintain social distancing of 2m, attend to good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Visitors, and those attending appointments, are also asked to wear their face covering at all times. No access will be permitted without a face covering.

Children under the age of 16 will not be permitted to visit hospitals. In the event of exceptional circumstances, this can be discussed with the person in charge.

Visitors should stay with the person they are visiting throughout the visit, minimising movement around the hospital/care home and maintaining social distancing from other patients/residents and staff to reduce risks of infection spread.