Families banned from intensive care units as Addenbrooke's step up coronavirus visiting restrictions

Addenbrooke's Hospital has severely restricted the number of visitors allowed in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.

No visitors will be allowed in intensive care units (ICU), which the hospital say have an "increasing" number of COVID-19 patients.

Relatives of patients in ICU will be able to phone the ward to get updates on their relatives, and it might be them to speak over video-call.

A statement from the hospital said: "We have taken the very difficult decision to suspend routine face-to-face visiting by families of patients in Addenbrooke’s intensive care units.

"Our sole focus in taking this decision is the safety of our patients, families and loved ones, and our staff.

"The number of coronavirus patients on the intensive care units is increasing; we face an urgent need to restrict the spread of the infection and keep patients and staff safe."

Read more: Stay at home or 'more people will die' from coronavirus, warns CEO of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals

The decision also affects patients receiving end of life care, who will only be allowed one visitor for an hour per day.

The hospital added: "We know that this is an incredibly difficult time and we know that this decision will be distressing for many – ourselves included. But by taking these difficult decisions, we can save lives."

One parent will be allowed to stay with their child in hospital - except in Neonatal Intensive Care where a parent will be allowed to visit for two hours a day.

Meanwhile expectant mothers will not be allowed a partner during scans or other antenatal appointments. However, partners will be allowed to stay with women during labour.

Other measures introduced by Addenbrooke's include:

  • Carers will be allowed one hour on ward with a patient - or longer if permitted by the ward manager.

  • People in A&E will be allowed to be accompanied by someone, but if they are admitted to a ward they won't be allowed to go with them.

  • All members of the public will need to use a buzzer before entering the hospital, and will be asked about their visit by security.