Visiting restrictions have been updated and eased following a review by health professionals at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH).

New rules mean that the majority of patients can now receive one ​nominated visitor for two hours per day from Monday 14 February, however there are exceptions particularly within inpatient and day surgery. Individuals are asked to undertake a lateral flow test before their visit, only attending if it is negative and they feel well, as well as to wear an appropriate face covering.

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in late 2021, and a peak of activity in early 2022, the Trust took the difficult decision to restrict visitors with the aim of reducing further spread of the disease.

As there has been a steady decline in cases of the illness throughout the past number of the weeks, health professionals within the organisation are pleased to be able to ease certain restrictions, across a range of services.

Doctors and nurses at the hospitals are urging that visitors should only come if they are well, and are not showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. This includes a high temperature, a persistent cough, a loss of smell or taste and any flu or cold like symptoms.

Abigail Trainer, Director of Nursing, said: “We are pleased to be able to relax our visiting restrictions once again. We know that being in hospital is difficult at the best of times, but given the uncertainty of the past two years we understand how challenging it has been for friends and family not to see their loved ones.

“We are still operating some restrictions, so we ask that individuals read the guidance carefully and we will continue to review our position on a regular basis. I want to also stress the importance that anyone coming to our sites must wear an appropriate face covering, wash their hands regularly and please do not attend, under any circumstances, if you have a cough, cold, diarrhoea, vomiting or a temperature.”

The Trust’s visiting restrictions have been updated to the following:

  • All Adult inpatients – One visit per day ​for up to two hours, please call ahead to confirm your attendance. ​Visitor must test lateral flow negative on the day of the visit and wear a mask at all times.
  • Compassionate Visiting – Two nominated Visitors/carers of patients with complex needs, those on palliative care, have learning disabilities, dementia, autism or a mental health need, are asked to call ahead but are not restricted to two hours. Visitors must test lateral flow negative on the day of the visit.
  • End of Life – Visiting is still available for patients receiving end of life care. There are no restrictions in the number of visitors that can attend but we ask that only two at a time visit. We ask that visiting parties do not congregate in entrances or on corridors. Visitors must test lateral flow negative on the day of the visit.
  • Outpatients – For those attending for an appointment, it is encouraged that you attend alone unless prior arrangements have been made. However, one carer/family member can attend with you.
  • Paediatric care – For full guidance, please head to: https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/non-essential-visiting-suspended/paediatric-neonatal-services-visiting-covid-19/
  • Maternity services – For full guidance, please head to: https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/non-essential-visiting-suspended/maternity-services-visiting-covid-19/
  • Patients having elective surgery (inpatient and day surgery): Patients having planned elective surgery do have to self-isolate prior to surgery. This is to reduce a patient’s risk of developing COVID-19 during the peri-operative period and reduces the risk of associated complications. Visitors are asked to use electronic means of keeping in touch until the patient is discharged home to reduce any potential risk of transmission of coronavirus during the post-operative. However, for longer stay elective patients (in hospital over three days) one nominated visitor can visit for a maximum of one hour per day. Visitors must have tested negative via lateral flow on the day they are attending, wear a face mask, must be well and without any COVID-19, cold or flu-like symptoms and have had no recent contact with anyone COVID positive. Visitors must call ahead to the relevant service to confirm their attendance time with the ward team. Due to the nature of this pathway of care, we strongly recommend visits are kept to a minimum.

In January, the Trust also introduced the Family Liaison Service to help families and loved ones stay in touch during a hospital stay, as well as coordinate the pick-up and drop-off of personal property, physical letters and arrangement of video calls if support is needed. The service can be contacted on familyliaisondbth@nhs.net or via telephone 01302 648 064, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.