Suspension of visiting following national lockdown announcement

Important changes from Thursday 5 November

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is suspending visiting to its hospitals to help stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep patients and staff safe.

An increase of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the local communities had led to an increase in patients with the virus at ESNEFT’s hospitals. With new lockdown measures coming into place in England on 5 November, the hospitals’ teams have taken the difficult decision to stop visiting, as it did during the first wave of the pandemic. The changes will come into place from Thursday 5 November.

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive at East Suffolk and North East Essex Foundation Trust, said:

“Our teams are working incredibly hard to keep everyone at our hospitals safe and to provide compassionate and high-quality care for all.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we thank everyone in our communities for their continuing support at this very difficult time.

“Our ward teams will be making every effort to keep in contact with patients’ families and loved ones. We understand how important that reassurance is when someone you care about is in hospital.”

Exceptional circumstances for visiting

Exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – can visit are, for example, when:

  • The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care
  • You are a parent or appropriate adult with a child in hospital
  • You are a carer who may be supporting someone with a learning disability or dementia, for example. Specific visiting guidance is here for carers
  • A visitor has a pre-existing visiting appointment booked tomorrow or Friday with a patient on a ward
  • See further below for arrangements for antenatal and maternity visiting

Staying in contact with families and loved ones

The Trust’s letters to loved ones service is still running and teams will continue to use iPads and mobile phones to help people keep in touch while face-to-face visiting is not possible. In most cases, we ask that families nominate a key contact to liaise with hospital ward who can then share updates with other families and friends.

Maternity and antenatal arrangements

Attending ultrasound scans
One adult from the same household can attend 12 and 20 week scans with someone who is pregnant at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals. For everyone’s safety and to reduce the overall number of people in our hospitals, we must ask that the person brought to the appointment is the same person every time.
Whoever you bring with you for your 12 week scan, must be who you then bring with you to your 20 week scan.

Birthing partners

  • Only one birthing supporter / partner may accompany a person in established labour
  • One birthing supporter / partner may come to hospital with a pregnant person at the beginning of the induction of labour process and can stay with them until 8pm
  • Only one birthing supporter / partner may attend with a woman for an elective Caesarean section

See full details of antenatal, Maternity and postnatal arrangements during this wave of the pandemic here.

Help us stop the spread
ESNEFT is asking everyone to help stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) by

  • Following the rules of the new lockdown in England
  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Following social distancing guidance

Our hospitals

This guidance covers Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital and Bluebird Lodge, Ipswich.

We are here to help patients

Mr Hulme said: “Our hospital teams are working hard to keep everyone safe and it’s important for our patients to attend their booked appointments and surgery so we can continue caring for them.”

The Colchester and Ipswich Hospital Emergency Departments and the urgent treatment centre at Colchester Hospital remain open to patients who need urgent and emergency help. If you have a health concern that’s not an emergency but you’re thinking about coming to A&E call NHS 111 first.