Visiting update in Southern Trust

1st October 2021

In recognition of the needs of patients and their loved ones, The Southern Trust will endeavour to facilitate 1 visitor per patient for 1 hour, once a week, with effect from Monday 4th October.

Covid-19 remains a real threat to everyone including patients, visitors and staff. We continue to treat patients with Covid-19 in our hospitals and we would urge people to visit only if absolutely necessary. We strongly encourage the continued use of virtual visiting; anyone who needs help with this can call our Virtual Visiting co-ordinator between 9am and 5pm on 077 7651 6419.

Executive Director for Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs, Heather Trouton said:

“Our absolute priority is to create as safe an environment as possible for visitors, patients and staff.

“We know that visitors are essential to the wellbeing of our patients, and wherever we can, we will support you to be with your loved one. However we continue to face particular challenges in admitting high numbers of patients to our ageing hospital buildings with limited available space – restricted further due to COVID-19 infection prevention measures.”

The new arrangements are that one of two nominated individuals from up to two households can visit, where this can be accommodated within COVID secure environments. Visiting at end of life and in exceptional circumstances will continue to be supported following risk assessment while paediatric and maternity visiting remains unchanged, ensuring this is risk assessed and in a COVID-19 secure way.

To protect patients, visitors and staff – visiting will be strictly BY APPOINTMENT ONLY and must be planned in advance. Arrangements will be made with each patient by Trust staff.

We are also encouraging members of the public to complete lateral flow tests before visiting any premises to provide confidence to both visitors and staff that visitors are not Covid positive and to help the Trust maintain Covid Safe environments for all.

Lateral Flow Tests can be ordered by the public via (www.health-ni.gov.uk/rapid-tests), if this is positive stay at home and arrange a PCR test.

Anyone showing or experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 or any other infection should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild and unconfirmed. Similarly, those who have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID should not visit. In these circumstances the individual should remain at home and follow the latest public health advice on self-isolation and testing.

All people visiting/attending Health and Social Care Settings will be required to adhere to all public health advice such as maintaining 2m social distance and wearing face masks (Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be required when visiting a ward area). Hand washing and/or the use of alcohol hand rub should be performed before visiting and when you leave the ward after a visit and after removing PPE.

These arrangements will be kept under review and may be subject to change depending on local factors and risk assessment.

Click here to view our Visiting page for more information