Relaxation of hospital visiting rules in Lancashire "a great relief"

Changes to visiting rules at central Lancashire hospitals have been hailed as a "huge boost" by patients and visitors.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 4:55 am

Changes were made on Thursday, May 6 for both RPH and Chorley Hospital, meaning that on many wards, patients will be allowed one visitor per day, lasting a maximum of one hour between the times of either 2pm – 3pm or 6pm – 7pm, seven days per week.

For months, visiting has only been allowed under exceptional circumstances due to Covid-19 restrictions.

>>>Click here to read more about changes.

Rory Dixon, 38, recovering from being stabbed
Rory Dixon, 38, recovering from being stabbed

Rory Dixon, 38, has been treated at RPH for two-and-a-half months since being critically injured in a stabbing in March.

He is now looking forward to his two daughters, aged 17 and 18, visiting him next week.

Rory, from Barrow-in-Furness, said: "It's brilliant news for all the patients, we need this for our mental health.

"I've been feeling very depressed, and knowing my girls are coming to see me gives me a real boost. They are the only people I have, and it's good for them to see me too."

Barbara Muncey and her niece, Shawleen Stanton

He added: "These are long days in here, and having visitors really feels like a step back to some kind of normality."

Barbara Muncey, 71, was visiting RPH for glaucoma treatment with her niece, Shawleen Stanton, 51.

Barbara said: "I think it's brilliant news. I would feel confident going in to visit someone.

"It's important that life goes on and we get back to normal. People's mental health suffers with these restrictions -young and old."

Keith and Jean Williams of Lostock Hall agreed, and said they had felt isolated when a family member was in hospital last year, and they couldn't visit.

Mr Williams said: "When you're on a ward in hospital, it's a very long day with nothing to do.

"People do look forward to visitors, so this is really good news for patients, and also for their families."

Mrs Williams said: "This feels like the start of better news."

Joanne Smith, from Preston, said: "I would 100 per cent be happy to go and visit someone in hospital, but I think you've still got to be careful and make sure that you're still keeping to the advice."

Sally Hodson from Fulwood, said: "It's wonderful news. It must be a great relief for people in hospital.

"It must be very painful for the patients not to see their loved ones, and very painful for their families not to have that contact with them."

The changes are as follows:

- Patients will be allowed one visitor per day, lasting a maximum of one hour between the times of either 2pm – 3pm or 6pm – 7pm (seven days per week).

- Arrangements to visit a patient need to be made directly with the relevant ward before visiting.

- Some wards, such as Critical Care, may have further flexibility on these times and visitors should enquire with the relevant nursing team beforehand

- Some surgical wards, which include Ward 11 at Royal Preston Hospital and Leyland Ward and Sellers Ward at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, WILL NOT yet be accepting visitors under these new arrangements. The hospital trust said this will be under regular review.

- In order to gain access to the ward, visitors are asked to provide evidence of a negative rapid lateral flow test. This means testing yourself prior to visiting the hospital and demonstrating the negative test result before entering the ward area.

- If you test positive, or are displaying Covid-19 symptoms, do not attend the hospitals. Current guidance says everyone in your household should self-isolate immediately and the person who tests positive should get a PCR test to confirm the result.

- If you would prefer to use Facetime rather than visiting the hospitals, this arrangement will remain in place. This also applies to other relatives of the patient and can be organised directly with the ward.

- Children’s Assessment Unit and Children's Day Case, Children's Ward, Neonatal Unit and Maternity Unit guidance will continue to follow their existing arrangements which can be found by clicking the relevant link above.

- All visitors must continue to comply with Government guidelines with regards to social distancing and hand hygiene practices. All visitors, unless exempt, must also wear a face covering and any PPE that the clinical area recommends.

Information on how to obtain Covid-19 Lateral Flow tests is available on the Government website here. If you cannot order online, call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free.