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Coronavirus guidance

Strict hospital visiting restrictions are eased

As the number of patients with confirmed Covid-19 infections in hospitals in east Dorset reduces, visiting restrictions have been relaxed at the Royal Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole hospitals. Click here for an update to St Mary's Maternity Unit visiting restrictions.

To prevent the spread of the illness, visiting had been restricted to all but essential family members at the discretion of clinical staff, often for patients receiving end of life care.

Now, some patients who have tested negative for Covid-19 in hospital may have one visitor, for no more than one hour per day.

Visitors must:

  • Ring the ward or unit to check they are allowing visitors and to book their visit before travelling. This is essential to ensure that social distancing is maintained on each ward.
  • Wear a face covering at all times in hospital
  • Have no Covid-19 symptoms themselves
  • Not be shielding due to an increased risk of serious illness from Covid-19.

Patients who were shielding at home before being admitted to hospital may only be visited by members of their household.

Fiona Hoskins, deputy director of nursing at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals, said: “It is really encouraging to see far fewer patients in our hospital who have coronavirus, and to see some elements of hospital life start to return, for example some routine services and appointments.

“However, we must remain vigilant and be mindful that coronavirus has not gone away.”

Denise Richards, deputy director of nursing at Poole Hospital, added: “Our staff continue to work incredibly hard to care for all our patients in a safe environment and we need the public’s ongoing support to enable us to carry on doing this.

“All hospital visitors will need to wear a face covering, and be aware that there will still be some restrictions due to social distancing measures which we appreciate can be difficult, but it is essential to slow the spread of the infection.”

Outpatients restrictions

The outpatients department is respecting social distancing measures in waiting areas and consultation rooms, and ask that where practical only the patient attends the appointments, arriving five minutes before their scheduled appointment time.

The patient only will be invited to the consultation room to ensure social distancing measures are adhered to, and if another person is required to attend this will need to be agreed in advance.

Face coverings

All visitors must wear a face covering at all times when visiting the hospital.

All visitors and outpatients must  wear a suitable face covering when visiting.

The Government is urging the public not to buy medical grade/surgical masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, and instead make their own face coverings at home. The key points are that it should cover the mouth and nose and be washed regularly.

Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions for the protection against Covid-19.

Advice for patients attending an outpatient appointment

In order to protect patients, staff, and the public, and to adhere to effective social distancing rules, we are introducing new arrangements for outpatient appointments.

Read the guidance here.

Communicating with patients during COVID-19 outbreak

We recognise how difficult it is to be asked to stay at home when your relative is in hospital and appreciate the additional distress this will bring to many families. Click here to see how we can support you.

Coronavirus advice

Easy read guidance

Coronavirus easy read visitor guidance

Wash your hands - Easy read guidance

Easy read: Coronavirus how to stay safe

Easy read: Coronavirus and health issues

Easy read: Coronavirus what if you get ill?

If you or anyone in your household has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough – even if it’s mild:

  • Everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days and keep away from others
  • Go to NHS.UK to check your symptoms and follow the specialist medical advice. Only call NHS 111 if you can’t get online or your symptoms worsen.
  • Protect older people and those with existing health conditions by avoiding contact.
  • Please DO NOT come to the hospital

We are now in the delay phase of the national coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. This means there is no longer a focus on geographical areas and community testing has stopped. Instead the focus is on testing those in high-risk groups with severe symptoms.

If you have symptoms, however mild, the new guidance is to stay at home for seven days. Symptoms include a new continuous cough or temperature of 37.8, and loss of taste or smell.

Please do not come into our hospitals, or visit your GP, or a pharmacy and if you have an appointment with us, please call us to cancel. There is no need to contact 111 unless symptoms worsen, do not resolve after seven days, or you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms. Please use the online 111 service before calling if you are able to. Guidance on self-isolating is available here.

Across our hospitals we are responding to the changing guidelines and ensuring we are best equipped to care for all our patients.

Please be reassured your safety is a top priority and any testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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