Visiting suspended at multiple hospital trusts in the region

The NHS trusts say they are taking the precaution to protect patients and staff. Credit: PA Images

Visiting has been suspended at hospitals in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Leeds, York and Doncaster to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Visiting within adult inpatient wards at Rotherham Hospital is being temporarily suspended with immediate effect due to the rapid spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in the local community. 

Rotherham currently has the highest community infection rate in South Yorkshire, and one of the highest across Yorkshire and the Humber.

In Doncaster and Bassetlaw hospitals there will be no visiting for adult inpatients from 1 January, unless in extenuating circumstances such as for patients receiving end-of-life care or for patients with complex needs. Maternity and Paediatrics are not currently affected by this change.

Sheffield, Leeds, York and Chesterfield hospitals have restricted visitation from today (31 December)

The NHS trusts say they are taking the precaution to protect patients and staff.

In Leeds visiting will only be supported in the following circumstances:

  • The patient is at the end of their life 

  • Children can have one parent visiting / resident with them at any time.

  • Women will continue to be able to be accompanied by one birthing partner.

At Chesterfield Royal Hospital exceptions will be made for:

  • Patients in their last days of life

  • Birthing partners for women in labour and for the immediate post-natal period

  • A parent or appropriate adult visiting a child

  • Patients suffering mental health issues, such as dementia, a learning disability or autism where not having visitors may cause distress

  • Critically ill patients in the ITU or High Dependency areas

There are currently 48 patients in Chesterfield Royal Hospital with Covid, with one in critical care.

Chief Nurse Krishna Kallianpur said: "This was a tough clinical decision and we will be continually reviewing, with any updates posted on our social media channels or on our website.

"We are incredibly grateful for your support during these challenging times; we understand that you will be worried about your friends and loved ones in hospital, but please be assured that we have free NHS Wi-Fi access for video messaging, wards have a number of iPads to ensure that you can stay in touch with a loved one virtually.

"Please know we are doing all we can to continue to care for people and this is a precautionary and temporary measure."

At hospitals in Sheffield, visiting arrangements will be able to be made in exceptional circumstances, for example end of life care patients.

One birthing partner will also be allowed during labour and birth at Jessop Wing and to visit the antenatal and postnatal wards by arrangement with the ward.

Chief Nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Chris Morley said: “Sadly the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is now spreading rapidly in the local community and whilst we have been trying to maintain some visiting because we realise how important this is to patients and relatives, unfortunately the increase in cases does now pose a greater risk of our patients acquiring the virus.

“A proportion of people with Omicron appear to have no symptoms and regrettably as a result we have seen some transmission in our hospitals which has been linked to visiting.

We have to put the protection of our patients, some of whom are vulnerable or immuno-compromised, as our first priority and so we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily stop all visiting unless there are exceptional circumstances.

“We recognise how important it is for family and friends to keep in touch and in particular for patients’ next of kin to have conversations with staff about their loved one’s progress or care decisions. We already have free WIFI and Ipads for patients to use but we will explore other options too.

“We will of course continue to monitor the situation with a view to reinstating visiting as soon as we can do so safely.”