We know how important visiting is to patients and their loved ones. The following information will let you know what is happening in the hospital and how it may affect you.
Visiting is open
Visiting is currently welcomed, and has been reintroduced to how it was before the pandemic.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff remain our overall priority. We will keep visiting arrangements under regular review. They are subject to change while Covid-19 continues to be in general circulation.
Adult inpatient wards
Two visitors will be able to attend during dedicated visiting hours. Each ward has its own visiting schedule.
Outpatients and diagnostics
Patients can bring someone to accompany them.
Any patient attending A&E can bring someone for support. Please note, if the department becomes crowded and unsafe, the supporter may be asked to leave.
Staff and visitors no longer need to wear face masks in all non-clinical areas of Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, unless it is their preference to do so.
The change has been made in line with national guidance about the mandated use of masks in healthcare settings.
However, visitors will still be asked to continue to wear face masks in many ‘higher risk’ clinical areas – such as critical care and cancer wards – to help ensure we protect our more vulnerable patients or in wards where patients may be infectious. We respectfully ask that you do not visit when you have any respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose.
Please speak to the ward you are visiting if you are unsure whether you need to wear a mask.
Visitors and those accompanying patients to outpatient appointments or the emergency department no longer have to wear a face mask; masks will continue to be available for those who want them.
It’s essential that visitors continue to wash or gel their hands when entering ward areas for example as this helps to reduce the risk of infection.
As we learn to live with COVID-19, this may include suspending visiting in certain areas due to outbreaks.
To be able to visit a patient, visitors must:
- In all cases, visitors must consent to wear Personal Protective Equipment appropriate to the area you are visiting – some areas still require visitors to wear a face covering.
- Carry out all relevant hand hygiene requirements, including regular hand washing or sanitising.
- If you have a medical exemption for wearing a face covering, please consider whether your medical condition makes you more vulnerable to infection if visiting and use digital options where possible.
- If the ward/department is declared as a COVID outbreak then visiting will be stopped, except for exceptional circumstances at the nurse in charge’s discretion such as patient receiving end of life care/ assist with communication/ health/emotional/religious or spiritual care needs.
- You must NOT attend the hospital if they have: symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, any loss of smell or taste, any symptoms of cold or flu, or diarrhea or vomiting.
- You must NOT visit if you have been in contact with a known Covid-19, Influenza or diarrhoea or vomiting case in the past 10 days.
How can I keep in touch with patients in the hospital?
If you’re unable to visit a patient in person, we have introduced a range of measures to help you to stay in touch. These include:
Keeping in touch
- Sending a message to loved ones
- Bedside telephone calls
- Virtual visiting
Find out about how to use all of the schemes we have in place to contact our patients by watching this video.
If you need further information, or have any suggestions about how we can support patients and visitors to stay in touch please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service and leave a message, the answerphone is checked regularly and someone will ring you back.
Any personal information is kept confidential. There may be occasions where your information needs to be shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.
In order to assist us to improve the services available, your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews and Statistics.