Covid restrictions re-introduced at Southampton General hospital after spike in cases

Rachel Hepworth reports from Southampton on the pressures being put on services and staff.

Mask-wearing and visitor restrictions have been re-introduced at Southampton General Hospital, following what it describes as an 'unprecedented demand' on services.

A sharp rise in Covid infections - and concerns about seasonal flu - have prompted the hospital to issue warnings about long waiting times at A and E.

Managers say the precautions are necessary to protect staff and patients.

Consultant Trevor Smith, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, on why the restrictions are necessary.

In a statement on its website the Trust said; "We need support from the community as we take these steps in order to help protect our staff and the patients in their care.

We are asking anyone who needs to come to our hospitals to Wash their hands and use sanitiser stations available across the site, Walk apart wherever possible and Wear a mask  unless you are exempt.

Visiting arrangements have also been changed as a result of the the current levels of infection. Visiting is still permitted in the circumstances outlined below and entry to the hospital must still be agreed and arranged with the relevant ward manager/matron/clinician prior to attending.

Elderly Care Ward sister Karen Male, on the pressures facing staff on a daily basis.

The hospital is at pains to stress that this is NOT a repeat of the scenes we saw during the pandemic - otherwise healthy patients rarely need hospitalising, they say.

But it's a stark reminder that covid is still with us- and has a big impact on vulnerable patients.