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Visitors at our hospitals

Restrictions at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

All regulations around Infection Prevention and Control at Bedfordshire Hospitals remains the same. The Trust has decided it is currently not safe to lift all restrictions at our hospitals.

Attending our hospitals

In order to help reduce the spread of infection across our hospital sites (Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital) and to protect our staff and patients, we still need you to do the following:

  • Take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT)* before attending a hospital appointment (no more than 72hrs before you attend)
  • Wear a face mask when entering any of our hospital sites
  • Observe social distancing measures in place
  • Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds when entering clinical areas (for e.g. wards) or make use of hand sanitisers that are located throughout the hospitals. You should also do the same when leaving, and follow all other guidance given by our staff
  • Attend our hospitals alone wherever possible – exclusions apply to our paediatric patients and those requiring carer support (patients with disabilities, translation / interpreting needs etc.)

* We appreciate there are some difficulties in accessing LFT kits, but owing to increasing prevalence of COVID-19 and risks for patients and staff of COVID-19 transmission,  the Trust cannot permit standard visiting to our adult inpatient wards without a relevant LFT test been done beforehand and a negative result produced on arrival.  The hospitals will not be able to provide LFT kits for visitors.

No changes to restrictions in our Emergency Departments

Due to the high numbers of attendances in our Emergency Department, it is likely that you may have to queue outside at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D). Please ensure you are in suitable clothing for the weather conditions where possible. We thank you for your understanding.

On average, 25 COVID positive patients attend our Emergency Departments (EDs) each day. All during a time when we are seeing record demand for emergency care, especially for this time of year.

As such, we are unable to relax any restrictions within these areas to limit the spread of the virus and maintain the health and safety of our staff and patients.

Visitors to the Emergency Departments will only be permitted under the following circumstances:

  • To spend time with a patient who is in the final moments of their life
  • To accompany a vulnerable patient with a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism
  • To assist with patients’ communication or provide interpretation
  • Only one parent or carer may accompany a child or young person.

Adult inpatient wards

Due to the rapidly increasing COVID-19 infection rate in the community and Bedfordshire Hospitals, the Trust has suspended standard visiting to all adult inpatient wards with immediate effect.

This decision has not been made lightly but is to keep staff, patients and their loved ones as safe as possible.

The Trust will continue to review this change and hopes to ease these restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.

Please assign one person to call the ward for a daily update on a relative/loved one. Contact numbers are available here, but the Trust kindly asks you to only call once a day and please be patient – the staff will do their very best to help you.

However, in exceptional circumstances, as listed below, visiting may vary and can be discussed with the ward manager.

However, in exceptional circumstances, as listed below, visiting can take place. Please discuss with the ward manager.

  • If the patient is receiving end of life care or
  • If the patient has dementia, learning disabilities or a mental health illness and need a carer/support present

For exceptional visiting, you will be asked to produce a negative lateral flow test (LFT) on a daily basis*.

*If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, you will not be required to present this, but will need proof of a previous positive test on the NHS App and must be asymptomatic at the time of visiting.

Please do not visit our hospitals if you are:

  • Unwell; especially if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough
  • Self-isolating as a result of COVID exposure or potential exposure

Special visiting arrangements will remain for patients in maternity, NICU, Children’s departments and for those receiving end of life care.

Maternity

One visitor a day is allowed to stay for four hours on our postnatal wards across both hospital maternity units. Other restrictions at both units will remain.

One partner can currently:

  • Accompany pregnant women/people at all scans and antenatal appointments
  • Stay with a pregnant woman/person during all times whilst on the Delivery Suite not just in established labour

It is important to note that these restrictions could change at short notice if it becomes unsafe to continue.

Lateral Flow Test (LFT) prior to visiting

We ask all patients and visitors to have a LFT prior to attending for an appointment or accompanying a pregnant woman/person for a maternity appointment (no more than 3 days or 72 hours before).

These tests are for people who do not have COVID symptoms.

You can find out where to attend for a rapid lateral flow test using the government website by entering your postcode here: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/

Alternatively, you can order a test online here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or if you cannot order online, call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free.

We appreciate there can be difficulty accessing LFTs at times, but due to the increasing prevalence of COVID-19 and the risk to staff and patients, we cannot permit standard visiting without a negative LFT test result. Unfortunately, the Trust is not able to provide kits for visitors.

If your swab is positive, please stay home and contact us to confirm you want to cancel your appointment or visit.

Bedford Hospital

Information about visiting

Information about visiting at the Bedford Hospital site is available above. If there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are in the last few days of their lives, visitors may be allowed on site on a case-by-case basis. There may be some other exceptions to this on compassionate grounds, which we will discuss with you on an individual basis. If you consider your situation meets the exceptions, please contact the staff in the clinical area in which the patient is being cared for and they will advise if visiting may be permitted.

At this busy time, we need to minimise the ward phone calls so we ask that friends and family keep in touch with patients, using their own mobile phones where this is possible.

We are asking that patients inform the staff which person they wish us to liaise with and this is often the next of kin.

Where there is a need to call the wards we ask they do so after 1pm and before 4pm each day.

Patient property

If you have items you wish to be delivered we ask that you arrange your family/carers to bring this to the PALs office, in the main corridor, at the Bedford Hospital Site.

This must be weekdays between 1pm and 4pm only. With regret items cannot be accepted outside of those hours.

Thank you for your support and understanding during these challenging times.

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital

Information about visiting

Information about visiting at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital site is available above. If there are exceptional circumstances, for example in maternity or children’s departments, or for those patients who are in the last few days of their lives, visitors may be allowed on site on a case-by-case basis. There may be some other exceptions to this on compassionate grounds, which we will discuss with you on an individual basis. If you consider your situation meets the exceptions, please contact the staff in the clinical area in which the patient is being cared for and they will advise if visiting may be permitted.

At this busy time, we need to minimise the ward phone calls so we ask that friends and family keep in touch with patients, using their own mobile phones where this is possible.

We are asking that patients to inform the staff which person they wish us to liaise with and this if often the next of kin.

Where there is a need to call the wards we ask they do so after 1pm and before 4pm each day.

Patient property

If you have items you wish to be delivered we ask that you arrange your family/carers to bring this to the Main Reception, in the main corridor, at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Site.

This must be between 1pm and 4pm only. With regret items cannot be accepted outside of those hours.

Thank you for your support and understanding during these challenging times.