Local clinical leaders are continuing to question pressure from government and NHS England to relax Covid-19 visiting restrictions.
Visitors, and people accompanying patients, have been restricted throughout covid, and in recent months there has been substantial local variation.
Ministers and NHSE, as well as other politicians and some patient groups, have been pressing for more relaxed restrictions for some time and in recent weeks have stepped up their instructions.
National visiting guidance was eased in March, and other infection control guidance, including requiring the isolation of covid contacts, was relaxed last month. Last week, the Daily Telegraph reported health and social care secretary Sajid Javid planned to “name and shame” trusts not implementing the changes, and to call hospital chief executives directly about it.
Meanwhile, chief nursing officer Ruth May reiterated the visiting rules last month, saying on Twitter: “We must not underestimate the important contribution that visiting makes to the wellbeing and personalised care of patients and make it happen.”
However, an NHSE online meeting for clinical leaders on Friday was told that while “a great number of trusts have returned to previous visiting policies… we know there are trusts which haven’t implemented this fully”.
One said: “It is very difficult to safely return to pre-covid visiting as some hospital’s estate can’t safely support visitors in already over-crowded [emergency departments] and increasingly busy [outpatient departments].
“Surely local risk assessment is key and should be supported rather than increasing pressure to simply blanketly return to pre-pandemic arrangements everywhere?”
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Source: HSJ, 9 May 2022
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