Hospital patients are being denied visits from loved ones by trusts using outdated Covid restrictions, according to the Telegraph.
Analysis shows that despite the NHS telling hospitals to open up last March, 70% of trusts still have some form of visiting restrictions in place.
A majority of hospitals are still not allowing more than two visitors at a time, with some patients only able to see friends and family for one hour a day. Other hospitals are preventing close contacts from attending appointments.
Across inpatient wards, accident and emergency departments, outpatient clinics and maternity wards, the Telegraph has found instances where families are being restricted from seeing loved ones.
Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, is resisting setting any “national diktats” on visiting rules, despite calls from patient campaigners to end “lockdown-era policies”. It comes as Covid wanes across the country, with infections down by a third in a week.
In March last year, NHS England told hospitals to open up after the Telegraph revealed that more than a quarter of trusts had suspended visits completely. Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer, said a month later that no patient should have to attend a hospital appointment alone.
However, of the 125 acute hospital trusts analysed by the Telegraph this week, 88 still had some form of restrictions in place. The most common was limiting visits to one hour, as well as restrictions on how many family members could visit mothers and newborns.
At the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, maternity wards are restricted to one person per bedside at any one time, meaning new parents and grandparents cannot visit the mother and baby at the same time. The trust also banned visits on its planned surgical wards.
Similarly, the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust only allows one birthing partner and one other visitor to see mother and baby at any one time. The hospital also only allows families to visit inpatients for one hour per day.
After being approached by the Telegraph, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said on Friday night that as of Monday it will revert to “pre-pandemic visiting rules” and allow two visitors per bedspace across maternity wards.
Patients undergoing planned surgery will be permitted one visitor, but they must complete a lateral flow test first.
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