Leaders at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust have made the “difficult decision” to suspend visiting on all adult inpatient wards at South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital from Saturday, January 1.
The suspension will also include visitors to the Trust’s Intermediate Care and Rehabilitation (ICAR) Unit based at Houghton Primary Care Centre.
It follows a rise in the number of confirmed Covid-19 hospital admissions at the Trust over the past few days.
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Despite having 56 cases across the Trust’s hospitals, meaning that it is not as high as numbers experienced during previous waves of the pandemic, bosses are concerned at the rate at which numbers have increased.
It is hoped that the move will protect both staff and patients, many of whom are vulnerable and at higher risk of serious complications caused by Covid-19.
Melanie Johnson, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust said: “Due to a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 admissions in our hospitals, we have had to make the difficult decision to suspend visiting to all of our adult inpatient wards.
“We know how important visiting is, so we understand how frustrating this news will be for our patients and their loved ones.
“The new Omicron variant is highly transmissible and for the safety of our patients and our staff, we need to take this step and minimise the risk of the virus spreading across our hospital sites."
Any visitors will need to wear PPE and will only be allowed in the following circumstances:
*Patients receiving end of life care.
*Women in labour will be able to have one birthing partner and can bring one person with them to their scan appointments only.
*One parent or carer will be able to accompany children in the children’s emergency department, children’s wards and neonatal unit.
*Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism and those who require a carer will be able to have one person accompanying them.
Anyone attending an outpatient appointment and those coming into the emergency departments should attend alone.