Welcoming visitors back
In the next few weeks we are looking at how we can safely relax the restrictions on visitors and patients coming on to our sites.
Safety will continue to be our top priority, but we know just how hard it is for patients go through being at hospital on their own, without friends and family support, so we are committed to doing what we can to review that now.
We have produced a relatives’ guide to summarise our approach and keep key information in one place. Over the coming weeks and months, we will update this guidance as we make changes to our policies and management. Click here to download the guide.
We appreciate your continued patience, support and understanding.
We hope that with the continued positive impact of the vaccination programme, and if we all keep sticking to the rules and good practice, which will keep community rates manageable, we will soon be in a position to make more positive changes in addition to those we are already undertaking.
Maternity support partners
From 12 April, visiting restrictions in maternity services will be relaxed further. One support partner will be allowed to accompany women at ALL antenatal and scan appointments as well as being allowed to visit for one hour per day on the postnatal wards.
In order for us to relax these restrictions safely, pregnant women and their support partners will be encouraged to get a Lateral Flow Test at one of the various testing centres in the local community ahead of attending their antenatal/scan appointments.
We understand that this has been a difficult period for pregnant women and their partners, so it is fantastic news that women and their support partners can now share the experience of these important antenatal appointments and throughout all stages of their pregnancy journey
During the pandemic we have introduced alternative approaches to how we have supported outpatients appointments – via the phone, or via video consultation. We want to look at how these appointments can be returned to face-to-face if that is what patients want.
So, we are also introducing a plan to enable this to happen safely.
We are asking that outpatients should, wherever possible, have taken a rapid-result lateral flow test (and had a negative result) no more than 72 hours in advance of their appointments at one of several rapid test centres across Bedfordshire.
Patients, where possible, should attend their outpatient appointment alone, unless it is necessary to be accompanied.
In the coming weeks we will also be trialling how we might open up more visiting to wards more generally, which might also potentially require lateral flow testing, timetables for visiting, restrictions on numbers and so on. We look forward to sharing more about this in the near future.