Posted: Sat 18th Jul 2020

North Wales health board ‘urgently working’ to implement new Welsh Government hospital visiting guidance

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jul 18th, 2020

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The Welsh Government has published a number of changes to NHS Wales hospital visiting guidance which comes into effect next week.

The changes will allow a partner, friend or family member to visit inpatients or accompany people with appointments such as scans.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says is ‘urgently working’ on how the new guidance will be implemented across hospitals in North Wales but “will not be able to do this for all patients as of Monday.”

In a statement, Minister for Health Vaughan Gething said: “Wales is still in a phase of sustained community transmission of COVID-19 and our first priority is the prevention and control of infection in our healthcare settings. This is to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of patients/service users, staff and visitors themselves.”

Mr Gething said: “Visiting should be with a clear purpose and agreement for visiting based on the best interests of the patient/service user or the well-being of the visitor.”

“This updated guidance aims to assist NHS Wales health boards and trusts to strike a balance, in terms of visiting principles, between allowing visiting with a purpose and the clear need to maintain robust infection prevention and control strategies at this stage in the pandemic, for the safety of patients, visitors and staff.” The Health Minister said

“In order to comply with the 2 metres social/physical distancing measure, it is still necessary to restrict the number of visitors.

Face-to-face visiting needs to be agreed in advance and outdoor visits may be offered if appropriate. Virtual visiting should be encouraged and supported where possible. This guidance is being kept under review and will change as the pandemic status alters.” Mr Gething added.

In response, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “Before we can implement this guidance, we must ensure that it is as safe as possible for everyone to maintain social distancing.

We are urgently working on how we will implement this latest guidance safely but regret that we will not be able to do this for all patients as of Monday 20 July.

We hope to be able to introduce the new arrangements in a phased way and further information will follow.

If you have an appointment, please contact your midwife or ultrasound department to discuss this.

We appreciate that it is a difficult time for everyone and we will continue to support the well-being of our patients/ service users and their families and loved ones in the best way we can.

Thank you for your ongoing patience during this time.”

Changes which is effective from Monday, July 20 include:

  • one parent guardian, or carer at the bedside at a time for paediatric inpatients and neonates
  • patients who are in the last days of their life – this can be up to two visitors at a time, for a specified amount of time, from the same household or part of an extended household.  If not from same household or not part of an extended household they should visit the bedside separately and maintain distance outside of the clinical area.
  • a birthing partner for women in labour, preferably from the same household or part of an extended household
  • in general, one visitor at a time for a patient with mental health needs, learning disability or cognitive impairment, where lack of visiting would cause distress or it is required as a reasonable adjustment to support access to health assessment or intervention. However the number and frequency of visitors should be considered on an individual basis in light of the patient’s/service user’s needs, care plan and in consultation with their support staff or carer
  • children and young people may visit a parent/guardian/carer or sibling in a healthcare setting and should be accompanied by one appropriate adult.
  • people with long term conditions which necessitate increased length of stay in a healthcare setting or people with specific care and well-being needs that the visitor/carer actively contributes to, for example, feeding, supporting communication needs and supporting rehabilitation. The health and well-being of these patients may benefit from seeing appropriate visitors, as their length of stay is over many weeks.  This should be documented in their care plan.

The full Welsh Government guidance on updated visiting can be found here.



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