Patient visiting restrictions
We know how important visiting is to our patients, and their family and friends. The majority of inpatients are permitted to have two visitors every day, between 11:00 and 19:00 (though this may very on certain wards). This must be arranged in advance with the ward.
Our hospitals care for vulnerable patients and continue to be high-risk locations for COVID-19. Therefore, all visitors are required to:
- sanitise their hands
- follow the latest guidelines on mask wearing, unless medically exempt
- follow any personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance, as instructed by staff
Visitors do not need to provide a negative lateral flow test.
However, please do not enter our hospitals if:
- you have COVID-19 symptoms
- you have tested positive for COVID-19
- you have recently been in close contact with someone who's tested positive for COVID-19
Symptoms of COVID-19
The main symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, a new and continuous cough, anosmia (loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of taste). However, COVID-19 can have other symptoms, including shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, myalgia (muscle ache), sore throat, headache, nasal congestion (stuffy nose), runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. Please do not visit our hospitals if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Adult inpatient wards
Visiting hours are between 11:00 and 19:00 every day, unless there are other agreements in place with the ward.
In most cases, two visitors are allowed to visit the patient at a time/per day. However, in certain areas of our hospitals, visiting arrangements may vary, for example reduced number of visitors/length of visit. The ward will advise you if this is the case.
Please speak to the ward to make arrangements to visit.
No children should visit adult wards unless agreed in special circumstances. (See "special circumstances", below.)
Visiting is not permitted in day case/assessment areas with less than 24 hours stay, except under special circumstances. (See "special circumstances", below.)
You should always follow directions from ward staff. Please ask them if you’re not sure about anything.
In our emergency departments (A&E)
One person may accompany a patient in the Emergency Department. However, this does not apply to minor injuries units, where special circumstances will apply, due to restricted space. (See "special circumstances", below.)
Children, including neonates
For paediatric (children's) wards, each child can have two parents/carers visit per day (one at a time), with one parent/carer able to remain overnight.
In the Neonatal Unit, both parents/named carers are able to visit.
You should always follow directions from ward staff. Please ask them if you are not sure about anything.
Specific restrictions apply to visiting maternity patients.
Patients may be accompanied or supported by one person, except under special circumstances. (See "special circumstances", below.)
For further information on attending outpatient appointments, please see our COVID-19 information pages.
Under the following circumstances, visitors may be able to extend visits or visit outside of the 11:00 - 19:00 visiting times. This must be agreed with ward staff in advance.
- Patients under 18
- Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism
- Visits from recognised carers (paid or unpaid), providing support where they would usually provide care at home
- Patients with specific communication needs
- Supporting meal times to encourage a patient to eat
- Patients requiring spiritual/religious support – all requests will go via the Chaplaincy team
For patients with COVID-19, ward staff will perform a risk assessment and advise visitors whether they may attend.
Children are not generally permitted to visit. However, in exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to under-18s attending with appropriate support.
Collecting a patient on discharge from hospital
Please discuss discharge arrangements with the ward. We aim to discharge patients by 11:00, and appreciate your help in making arrangements to collect them by this time.
We are constantly reviewing our visiting guidance in line with national guidance, cases of COVID-19 in our hospitals and in the local community. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Our visitor charter
We have created the following visitors’ charter to provide information and to help our patients, visitors and staff get the most out of the visit.
Please note that some of the terms of this charter may be changed due to COVID-19. Please refer to the visitor restrictions above for the most up-to-date guidance.
- be polite and respectful
- listen if there is anything you would like to discuss
- work hard to create a restful environment
- identify people who the patient has a significant or longstanding relationship with (this may or may not be the next of kin) and keep them well informed (with the patient’s permission if they are able to give it)
- support you if you wish to help with your friend or relative's care or meal times. Talk to us about how you can best assist
- put patient care first. This may mean discussing the best time for you to visit
- do all we can to protect patients from infection
- arrange for you to speak to a member of the medical team or other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care
We ask you to:
- be polite and respectful
- talk to us if you have any concerns
- keep noise levels to a minimum and turn off mobile phones or switch them to silent
- nominate one main point of contact for staff to pass information on to (with the patient’s permission if they are able to give it)
- limit the number of visitors to two at any one time
- talk to us about children visiting the ward. Children are welcome with the supervision of an adult, but there are some situations where this would not be appropriate
- not disturb nursing staff when they are administering medications; other staff will be available if you need anything
- be aware that we may ask you to leave if a patient requires privacy or if a medical emergency occurs
- respect the confidentiality and privacy of others by not filming or photographing other patients, visitors or staff without consent
Last reviewed: 01 November 2021