From Wednesday 29 December, we are introducing new restrictions for hospital visiting due to high rates of COVID-19 infection in the community.
From this date, the majority of inpatients will not be permitted to have visitors during their stay. A small number of inpatients will still be permitted visitors under exceptional circumstances.
There are also still visiting arrangements in place for maternity, neonatal and paediatric services. Please see ‘Who can visit?’ section below for more information.
The new rules apply to all of our hospitals. We know how important visitors are for patients, and we are sorry for any distress this decision may cause – however, we also have a responsibility to keep patients, visitors and staff safe.
Thank you for your patience and support. We are keeping our arrangements for visitors under regular review, and we will relax the visiting arrangements as soon as it is safe to do so.
Who can visit?
Visiting is permitted in the following circumstances only. For any areas not stated below, visitors are not permitted.
Please note: All visitors will be required to complete a negative lateral flow test before visiting our hospitals. Visitors will also need to wear a mask at all times, observe social distancing and wash hands regularly.
Pregnant women and birthing partners
• You are encouraged to have one birthing partner/support person with you during your stay. You will not be able to swap this person, and they should stay at bedsides as much as possible during their visit.
• You will be able to attend hospital-based antenatal clinics (Windsor walk, Venetian building, Community Midwives Centre, Midwives House, Orpington Hospital, Beckenham Beacon and Queen Mary’s – Sidcup) with one other person.
• In the Neonatal Unit, you and your baby are treated as one, which means the other parent of the baby can visit at any time.
Both parents are permitted to visit children who are inpatients on our paediatric wards.
Patients being treated in critical care will be permitted visitors in exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of the clinical teams caring for them. You must speak to the critical care team in advance before agreeing how many visitors are permitted, and when the visits can take place. All visitors will need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and this will be provided by the critical care team.
End of life care patients
Patients nearing the end of their lives are permitted to have up to four patients visit where this can happen safely. However, you must speak to the ward manager in advance before agreeing how many visitors are permitted, and when the visits can take place.
All visitors will need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and this will be provided by the ward team.
Patients with disabilities or specific care needs
Patients with specific care needs, including dementia, learning disabilities or mental health needs, will be permitted visitors where agreed by the relevant Ward Leader, Matron or Head of Nursing for the area in which they are being cared for.
The same applies to patients in distress, or who are deteriorating due to isolation from visitors. However, as per above, you must have the agreement of the Ward Leader, Matron or Head of Nursing for the area in which they are being cared for.
If you cannot visit
You may wish to use phone, email, Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp to keep in touch with relatives or friends in the hospital.
All patients at PRUH have access to free patient Wi-Fi and through this, patients are able to access a range of TV, radio and other entertainment options.
Request a Skype video call
We have introduced iPads on our wards at the PRUH, to help patients stay in touch with their loved ones by video. This is an alternative to visiting in person, and is important in helping patients maintain good mental health.
Each ward has an iPad or tablet set up with a Skype account. If you would like to video call your loved one using the ward Skype account, please phone the ward to arrange this. This is to help manage demand and to set aside time for you to talk to your loved one.
To use Skype, you will need a working internet connection and a Skype account already set up. The Skype website has details of how to set up a Skype account.
Thank you again for your co-operation and support.