Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updated information regarding visiting patients at our hospitals

Published: 24 March 2020

Important information update from our Chief Nurse, Jane Viner, regarding visiting patients in our hospitals.

Following the changes implemented by the Government, we have taken advice from NHS England and Improvement and from Devon Clinical Commissioning Group about restricting and reducing our visiting times. This will also bring us in line with the advice our partners are using in Plymouth, Exeter and North Devon and we will all be applying the same standard.

From today (24 March 2020) we will be reducing visiting. There will be no visiting on our sites, other than for the four following key groups:

  • For children under 18 – one parent will be able to visit and be able to stay, at a time and a length of time to be discussed with Ward staff
  • mothers who are expecting in the Birthing Unit, one partner will be able to accompany you and stay with you (see our Maternity Services pages for more details)
  • those whose loved one is on an end of life pathway, one relative or carer will be able to stay with that person as they approach end of life
  • those who have specific needs, such as dementia or learning disability or other specific care need, will be able to have a carer or a loved one visit and again that will be in discussion with Ward / department staff.

We are not taking this decision lightly, but the advice is very much that in order to reduce the risk to vulnerable patients in hospital, to staff caring for them, and to yourselves and to your families, that reducing visiting in this way will have a positive impact.

I would also ask you to consider if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, which as you will be aware can include a high temperature, a dry persistent cough and feeling unwell, that you do not visit the hospital, but use other communication methods such as the telephone or internet. If you are living with a family member who has symptoms, again such as a cough, high temperature, feeling unwell; I would urge you not to visit the hospital, but to think of other ways to keep in contact with your loved one.

I appreciate that this is a challenging message for you as you do want to visit your loved ones in hospital. However, I am asking for us all to work together to deliver the best outcome for patients, staff, yourselves and your families. I hope you will work with us over the coming days and weeks to ensure that the risk to all of us is minimised. Thank you.


If you have any queries regarding these news items, please contact the Communications Team.

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