South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has said regular visiting has been suspended until further notice to protect patients and its workforce during the COVID-19 alert.
A series of strict exceptions have been drawn up by trust bosses.
It has said that visiting will only be allowed in the following circumstances:
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*One birthing partner during labour
*Parents-only in the neonatal unit
*Only one parent or carer allowed with a child at all appointments, in urgent and emergency care, or when visiting children with no time restrictions
All those allowed under these restrictions have been told they must wash their hands thoroughly as arriving and leaving wards or departments.
All visitors must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) if asked to do so.
The trust has confirmed three deaths in its hospitals in recent days. All three are understood to have been elderly patients.
A spokesperson said: “We recognise there will be exceptional circumstances for patients who are receiving end-of-life care and families should talk to the ward manager.“Patients will be asked to attend hospital alone for any urgent treatment.”
Meanwhile, the trust has sent thanks to businesses which have rallied round to gift food to its teams during recent weeks, including Colmans Seafood Temple, Zeera and Aneesa's Buffet in South Shields, Pizza Uno in Sunderland, Nando’s and Dicksons.
A spokesperson for the trust added: “From pizza and pork pies to seafood and sandwiches, they have all been gratefully received by our hard-working teams and we would like to say a big thank you for thinking of our colleagues during this time.”
They added the best way to support the NHS is to follow the guidance to stay at home and follow a series of rules during the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, Monday, March 23, which will run for an initial three weeks.
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