WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

NHS chief orders hospitals to lift ALL remaining Covid visitor restrictions

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, told the trusts yesterday to allow visitors to improve the

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, told the trusts yesterday to allow visitors to improve the “experience, mental health and recovery” of patients.

NHS hospitals have been told once again to lift patient visit restrictions introduced during the Covid pandemic.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, told the trusts yesterday to allow visitors to improve the “experience, mental health and recovery” of patients.

In a letter sent to hospital bosses, he said all healthcare settings “should now start transitioning to their own pre-pandemic (or better) policies on inpatient visits.”

Ms Pritchard added that the ‘default position’ should be ‘no patient should be alone unless they choose to be’.

NHS guidelines were updated in March to allow patients to have two visitors for at least an hour a day and “ideally longer”.

Hospitals including Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead (pictured), Yeovil Hospital and St Bartholomew's in London last month were criticized for having stricter limits on visitors.

Last month hospitals, including Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, Yeovil Hospital (pictured) and St Bartholomew's in London, were criticized for having stricter limits on visitors.

Last month hospitals, including Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead (left), Yeovil Hospital (right) and St Bartholomew’s in London, were criticized for having stricter limits on visitors.

What are the NHS guidelines for hospital visits?

Visits should be accommodated for at least one hour per day and ideally longer.

Visitation policies should also reflect that Covid is in general circulation.

The health, safety, mental health and well-being of our patients, communities and staff remain the priority.

Number of bedside visitors:

  • two visitors
  • Patients may be accompanied when appropriate and necessary to assist in their communication and/or to meet their medical, emotional, religious, or spiritual care needs.

These principles should also apply in outpatient and diagnostic service settings and in the emergency department where the patient may want/need to be accompanied by someone important to them.

No patient should have to attend on their own unless it is their personal choice.

But almost half of the trusts maintained policies so strict that they flaunted the guidance, the Mail on Sunday found.

Last month, Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex, Yeovil Hospital and St Bartholomew’s in London were criticized for strict visitor limits. MPs claimed the restrictions were illegal.

Ms Pritchard said the guidelines were the “absolute minimum standard”.

In addition to her letter, Ms Pritchard told an NHS England meeting yesterday that the visitor guidelines should be fully implemented, citing significant benefits.

She said: ‘Allowing visitors, as well as loved ones to accompany those who attended planned appointments, is really important for the patient experience, mental health and recovery.

‘Not to mention the benefit physicians can derive from having the information and knowledge of their patients from those who know them best.

“As well as the value for patient care, it’s about the NHS core values ​​of compassion, dignity and respect.”

Ms Pritchard noted: “Covid is still circulating in the community so you need to balance risk.”

But he added: “Our starting point has to be: what do patients want and need, and the vast majority of hospitalized patients will want and need to see visitors.”

It comes after leading Conservatives, including former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, wrote a letter last month warning that denying visits is “inhumane and cruel”.

They wrote: ‘Unsurprisingly, isolation and loss of social contact has a devastating impact on physical and psychological health.

“Without the support of family and friends, health outcomes are worse as patients and residents lose hope, sometimes even lose the will to live, and often refuse treatment.

Ms Pritchard’s latest remarks come after NHS England guidelines in March stated that all healthcare settings should facilitate visits “for at least one hour per day and ideally for longer”.

Separate UKHSA guidance from last month stated that patients no longer have to socially distance when in hospitals.

NHS trusts across England have been told to “return to pre-pandemic physical distancing in all areas”.

The move means NHS doctors, patients and visitors no longer have to stay apart at GP surgeries, emergency departments and ambulances.

However, people should still wear face masks when in hospital settings and continue to practice good hand hygiene, according to the guidance.

Healthcare workers are still told to test themselves twice a week using lateral flow tests if they work in a patient-facing role.

The move takes into account the “ongoing impact” social distancing is having on the capacity of the NHS, chiefs said.

The health service admitted the move gave it fewer beds to perform elective surgeries, which had a ripple effect on its ability to resolve the backlog, which has ballooned to a record 6.4 million due to Covid.

But he also warned that scaling back infection control measures risks infecting both patients and staff.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More