Visitors to patients in St Mary’s Hospital, Newport, may have to wait a bit longer before they can see their loved ones — as restrictions are not going to be lifted yet.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions to visitors have been in place at the Isle of Wight’s hospital to try and limit the spread, protecting patients, staff and visitors from coronavirus.
Essential visiting was allowed to patients, but only if it had been arranged with the ward manager beforehand.
Following risk assessments, exceptions were made for certain groups of patients, including those receiving end-of-life care, children being treated and those with mental health illnesses.
Since mid-June, and in line with government guidance, visitors and patients attending appointments have had to wear a face mask into the hospital.
Speaking at a meeting of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Board, chief executive Maggie Oldham said the hospital will still be following guidance.
She said: “I have to do what I am told from an infection, preventions control point of view. We follow the guidance nationally to keep our staff and visitors safe.
“I have had a number of interactions with patients’ family members, who have really been distraught about confusion over whether they could or couldn’t visit patients, particularly at the end of life.
“We have had some extremely positive feedback about how our staff h’s empathetic and compassionate approach.”
Alice Webster, director of nursing, said: “Even though we are seeing fewer cases in the hospital, there are still cases in the community and we are still seeing new cases.
“We are looking at how we can relax [restrictions] across the place without going for a straight ‘everyone can come in from tomorrow’. We are doing a risk assessment.
“We haven’t removed any restrictions across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”
Ms Oldham went onto say: “We hope we don’t have a wave two but we have to be as vigilant now as we have been in February.
“We are small enough to do one-by-one risk assessments when they are needed but I don’t think we will be going stright back to a pre-Covid state.
“I think there will be many many months of having to manage our visitors in a really robust way. The one-way systems, the exit/entry changes, the masks that are available, the attention to why are you here and what are you doing is only going to increase during this next period, a very challenging time for our staff.”
However, friends and family members are still able to keep in touch by sending a message to a loved one, through the trust’s patient experience team. To find out more you can follow the link: www.iow.nhs.uk/getting-involved/help-us-improve/message-to-loved-ones.htm .