Guidance for visiting our hospitals and units during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Responsible visiting at our hospitals and units from 12 April (updated 29 June)

Following the move into Step Two of the government roadmap towards the easing of COVID-19 restrictions we are pleased to be able to open up responsible visiting across most of our hospitals and sites.

From Monday 12 April (updated 18 May):

  • Pre-booked visiting is allowed on most wards, allowing one person at a time to book a slot. You may now have a second nominated visitor, although you cannot have two visitors on the ward at the same time. We’d advise that all visitors for the patient should be from the same household bubble, but we recognise this won’t always be possible.
  • Visiting slots are strictly limited to one hour during allocated visiting times. Please check individual wards for information
  • We suggest that if you have access to a free rapid COVID-19 test (lateral flow) you test before visiting our hospital or unit but this is not mandatory. More information here.
  • Visiting for patients who are receiving supportive end of life care, patients with specific needs who would benefit from the presence of a carer and patients identified as requiring a visit on compassionate grounds, will not be limited to 1 hour booked slots. Please discuss arrangements with the nurse in charge.

Please note: Booked visiting for the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) and Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) will not be possible. Visiting will be limited to exceptional circumstances only on an individual patient basis, based on the need of the patient. Visits can be booked when and if the patient is moved to a permanent ward.

Mental health wards

  • Seeing friends, family and carers is so important to the wellbeing and recovery of our patients and we aim to support their visits to our ward. For this to happen we will always carry out an assessment of each patient’s individual needs to enable the visit. Please speak to a member of staff at the ward.



  • For outpatient appointments, you should come alone as there is limited space due to social distancing. If the nature of your appointment means you do need someone to be with you, please contact the number on your appointment letter.

Emergency department (A&E) and minor injuries units

  • Patients coming to the emergency department (A&E) at Musgrove Park Hospital or one of the seven minor injuries units in Somerset should please come inside the buildings alone where you possibly can. Children can be accompanied by one adult. If there are exceptional circumstances, please speak to the nurse in charge to discuss these.

Booking a visiting appointment

Restrictions where no visitors are allowed

  • Areas where COVID-19 positive patients are receiving care
  • Where patients admitted for planned surgery have shielded for 14 days.

Please do not leave home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and use alternative methods of keeping in touch with loved ones.


Visiting our hospitals and units if you have returned from a ‘red’ or ‘amber’ listed country (Updated 29 June)

If you have returned to England from countries designated as ‘red’ or ‘amber’ you must follow the government rules on testing and/or quarantine.

If you have returned from a ‘red’ or amber’ country and need to visit a patient being cared for at our trust on compassionate grounds, such as end of life care, you should contact the national Travel line on 0800 6781767 to discuss options available to you. Our NHS trust is unable to give relatives legal permission to break quarantine or testing rules.

You then need to contact the Department of Health and Social Security on 0207 210 4850 for advice relating to the testing that is required on entry into the country.


Patient Messaging Service

Our patient messaging service can help you to keep in contact with your loved ones.

If you’d like to send a message to a friend or loved one, please send a text or voicemail to the patient experience team, who will pass on your message (in the form of a handwritten card).

Simply call or text 07525 968409, along with the name of the patient and their location (if known)

Or send your text and/or a photo by email to:

Please include: relatives’ name, patient name, date of birth, and ward name (if known)

We hope this helps you let your loved ones know you are thinking of them.

We know this is a challenging time and all of us at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust thank you for playing your part in keeping our patients, colleagues and community safe.