WARRINGTON and Halton Teaching Hospitals are suspending all visiting from Friday to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

This is in response to new national guidance from NHS England-Improvement.

There are a number of exceptions to this:

• Relatives of those nearing end of life will be supported to visit their loved ones, bespoke arrangements will be made by the nurse in charge

• Patients on the intensive care unit, only one visitor per patient per day will be permitted and visiting will be between 2 and 4pm and 5 and 7pm daily, visits outside this will be on a case by case basis in discussion with ICU staff

• Maternity, one birth partner only, visiting at any time but overnight stays are suspended

• Children’s and neonatal wards, one parent, partner of parent or guardian per child per day

• Key workers visiting ICU, maternity, children’s or neonatal wards or those patients nearing end of life will be supported to visit their loved ones by arrangement with the nurse in charge.

Patients attending for outpatient appointments or tests should attend alone unless they need to be accompanied – these accompanying visitors should not stay in any patient, ward or communal areas - this applies to both inpatient and outpatient settings.

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Children under 16 years old will not be admitted at any time.

To support family contact with loved ones, the Trust is making arrangements to support e-visiting via digital media platforms on each ward.

They are also setting up a family liaison service for each ward, coupled with a pick up and drop off service for patient laundry and small gifts.

A further announcement will be made when this is in place.