New restrictions on visiting at Bradford Teaching Hospitals

AS PART of the NHS’ response to the coronavirus pandemic to protect patients, staff, volunteers and visitors, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has placed further restrictions on visiting.

In line with all hospitals across West Yorkshire, the Trust has made the difficult decision to end all face-to-face visiting on wards at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) where patients require mechanical support for their breathing.

Mel Pickup, Chief Executive, said:  “I am very sorry that we have had to take this step, but we must do everything we can to slow the spread of this highly contagious disease, and keep our visitors, staff and the wider population safe.

“When we took the decision two weeks ago to stop visiting in our hospitals, we made an exception for end of life care.  However, since then it has become clear that as numbers of patients increase, we cannot safely manage the high risk environment on our wards and keep visitors safe.

“I know how hard it is when you can’t visit a loved one in hospital during this pandemic, especially when the patient we are caring for is at the end of their life. No matter what happens, we will be there when you can’t be, so that everyone in our hospitals has someone they can turn to. Our promise is that no one dies alone.”

Dr Bryan Gill, Chief Medical Officer, said: “The scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that there is a significantly increased risk to the public visiting these areas. This poses a risk to the visitor, their relatives and the staff if we continue to allow visiting – even at the point of end of life.  For that reason we have sadly had to end all visiting on wards where patients require mechanical support for their breathing.

“We do understand that this will be difficult for families who want to show their respects, pray and offer their support. We have introduced some brand new innovations urgently specifically to deal with concerns about families being separated. This range of new measures, including video calls and other technology, supports families to see and talk to their loved ones.”

The different ways to keep in touch include:

  • FamilyView – a system through which families can see and speak remotely to loved ones.
  • Relatives’ Line – 01274 272747 which allows a family member to phone for a daily update from a member of the clinical team from 8am-8pm, or to pass on a message.
  • Thinking of you – thinkingofyou@bthft.nhs.uk – an electronic in-box for families and friends to send goodwill messages and videos for us to play to the patients.

For more information, please see the short film below.

In addition, the Trust’s Chaplaincy team has qualified representatives from all the major faiths and is available to offer spiritual and pastoral care to any patient of any faith, as well as those of none.

There is still some very limited visiting allowed, but only for three groups of patients. Visiting must be agreed in advance with the nurse in charge of the ward:

  • Patients receiving end-of-life care on wards which are not providing mechanical support for breathing can receive one visitor.
  • In the Paediatric and Neonatal departments, one parent or appropriate adult is able to be with their child at any given time. No children will be able to visit.
  • In the Maternity unit, women in labour can be accompanied by a birthing partner.

The Trust will keep these new restrictions under constant review so that if circumstances change we can consider our approach.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

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