Northamptonshire hospital trust's Covid visiting restrictions called 'cruel and wrong' by MP

Northampton and Kettering General hospital have reintroduced the restrictions

Measures to restrict visiting at two hospitals because of a rise in Covid and Flu infections have been called "wrong" and "cruel" by an MP.

Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals have suspended visiting for adult inpatient wards due to a significant increase in Covid, flu and RSV infections.

Mask wearing will also be enforced at both sites.

The new measures come in force from today, Thursday 29 December.

Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Rutland MP Alicia Kearns criticised the move, calling it "wrong" and "cruel".

In a tweet she said: "Patients should not be locked away from their loved ones who advocate for their care, understand their needs and recognise signs that more support might be needed. We must learn from mistakes, not repeat them."

Patients and visitors are also being asked to wear a mask in order to prevent the spread of infections to vulnerable patients, as well as to help prevent staff absences.

The hospitals are among the first in our region to reintroduce measures enforced during the height of the pandemic.

The Trust says in September Covid infections had dropped to as-low-as 16 beds occupied across the two hospitals.

However, the new measures come after that combined figure yesterday has risen to 120 beds occupied with Covid across the two hospitals.

The Trust says it is facing additional pressure from flu cases. Across the two hospitals there are currently more than 70 beds taken up with flu. 

In a joint statement, Northampton and Kettering General Hospital’s Chief Operating Officers Palmer Winstanley and Fay Gordon said: "The UK is now experiencing a significant spike in winter illnesses including Covid, flu, RSV and norovirus. The current variants are very infectious, and we are seeing numbers rise in both hospitals with some patients being very unwell.

"As a result, we are suspending visiting on adult inpatient wards and are asking all patients and visitors to wear masks when coming to the hospital. This will help us to prevent the spread of infection and keep our vulnerable patients safe from these winter illnesses.

The hospital say this guidance will be reviewed continuously, and regular updates will be provided via their website and in local media.