NHS Trusts across Nottinghamshire are asking the public to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals and clinics, where vulnerable patients and NHS staff remain at increased risk of infection.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease across the country, local NHS bosses at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH), Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Sherwood Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (SFH) are urging the public to continue to adhere to social distancing and infection control measures when coming into the county’s hospitals.
The latest measure for people to observe is to wear a face covering if attending hospital as either a visitor or an outpatient.
The new rule, which came into effect on Monday 15 June, requires anyone entering a hospital to bring with them a cloth face covering or face mask, which must be worn at all times. There are certain exceptions, for example for very young children and people with breathing difficulties. Face coverings help to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The plea to the public comes as lockdown restrictions in other areas of life begin to be eased. However, stopping the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals remains a critical challenge. Nationally there were 1,514 new cases of Covid-19 recorded on 14 June, down from the daily peak of 6,201 on 1 May but still higher than the lowest daily figure to date of 1,003 on 10 June.
A spokesperson for the region’s trusts said: “Whilst lockdown easing is undoubtedly good news for many of us who have children going back to school and businesses reopening, the need to protect vulnerable hospital patients and NHS staff, who have shown incredible levels of dedication and personal sacrifice through the pandemic, remains critical.
“As well as the latest rules on face coverings, there are a number of things anyone entering a hospital needs to be mindful of. If possible please attend your appointment alone, and turn up no more than 5 minutes beforehand, leaving promptly afterwards. Observe all hospital signage including instructions to keep left in corridors and the maximum occupancy for lifts. Use hand gel on entering the building and regularly throughout, especially after eating, drinking or going to the toilet.
“It may be that people bringing loved ones into hospital, including Emergency Departments, are asked by our staff to wait somewhere other than the waiting area, for instance outside or in their car. We would ask the public for their understanding with this, and to remind everybody that the fewer people we have in our hospitals, the more chance we have of limiting the spread of the virus so we can continue our vital work of protecting and saving lives”.
Information on visitor restrictions can be found online for the following hospitals:
QMC, City Hospital and Ropewalk House: www.nuh.nhs.uk/information-for-visitors
King’s Mill Hospital, Newark Hospital and Mansfield Community Hospital: www.sfh-tr.nhs.uk/for-patients-visitors/visitors