Visiting restrictions are now in place across Somerset hospitals and units.
Dr Ed Ford, chair of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“In the light of yesterday’s Government announcement, and to help us protect patients, colleagues and the public, our hospitals in Somerset are now closed to visitors.
This includes Yeovil District Hospital, Musgrove Park Hospital, all thirteen community hospitals, all our mental health units among others.”
The only exceptions are for:
- Patients receiving end of life care
- Patients on children’s wards and neo-natal units
- Patients with specific conditions such as a dementia or a learning disability
Individual visiting arrangements will be made for patients receiving end of life care and with specific conditions such as dementia or a learning disability.
Visitors to children’s wards and neonatal units must be parent or guardian visitors only and are limited to a maximum of one visitor per patient.
Women in labour can be accompanied by one birthing partner.
“We fully appreciate that this may be difficult for many people who naturally want to visit their loved ones when they are unwell” said Dr Ed Ford.
“We do not take this action lightly but we truly believe that asking you to comply with these restrictions it will help keep our patients, visitors and colleagues safe during this period.
By limiting visiting in these ways you are helping our hospitals, units and NHS services to manage to keep everyone as safe as possible.
We encourage those who would usually visit to embrace technology and keep in touch using mobile phones to call and message.
Our hospitals are also relaxing the rules around video calls to help keep you connected during this difficult time.”
For people attending outpatient appointments they are asked to attend alone if at all possible.
If they need to be accompanied due to mobility issues, one person may accompany them.
No children are to enter the outpatients unit unless they are the patient.
All permitted visitors are required to wash their hands with soap and water, or use the alcohol gel when they go into a ward/department and when they leave.
The latest public health advice can be found here.
No one should visit a hospital or unit, even if they meet the criteria above, if they are:
- Unwell, especially if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough
- Vulnerable as a result of medication, a chronic illness or if you are over 70 years of age
Dr Ford added:
“For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection, however mild, please stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
The symptoms are either a high temperature or a new continuous cough.
If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.
This action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.”
Other things you can do to stop the infection spreading:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, if you need to go outside