Spotlight

Open visiting from 25 May 2022

Information up-to-date as of Thursday 23 June 2022

As the nation moves toward a plan of living with COVID-19, some of the restrictions in our healthcare settings are now reducing. Please take note of the changes, as well as the measures that are still in place to keep you, our patients, and our colleagues safe.

Visiting

Open visiting is now in place across our hospitals and units, meaning visitors no longer need to book visiting appointment slots.

Visitors and carers can give comfort, help with care, and provide emotional support to patients, which can significantly aid recovery and improve wellbeing, so we are committed to supporting this as openly as we can.

Due to a rise in the number of people with COVID-19, from Friday 24 June we are asking all patients and visitors to our acute medical unit (AMU), same day emergency care (SDEC), emergency department (ED), minor injuries units (MIU), surgical assessment unit (SAU), integrated front door (IFD) and all outpatient departments to wear a mask at all times.

Hospital wards

Visiting hours are from 10am to 8pm, and in most areas, two visitors can come in at one time.

In some instances, such as end of life care or if a patient requires the support of a carer, it may be possible to attend outside of normal visiting hours, or have additional visitors at one time. This must be discussed directly with the ward where the patient is staying. To contact a ward directly, please find the contact numbers here.

Maternity

Maternity visiting has been updated to allow for more visitors, up to two birthing partners, and overnight stays. For a full breakdown of the guidance, including the latest updates, visit the maternity pages.

Neonatal and children’s care

Parents of babies and children in our neonatal, special care or children’s wards can be with their baby/child 24 hours a day.

Mental health wards

Visiting hours are from 3pm to 9pm, Monday – Friday, or 10am to 9pm on a Saturday or Sunday.

These hours help us to facilitate therapeutic day activity programmes, but should you wish to discuss visiting outside of these hours, please contact the ward directly.

We understand that in some circumstances, it may still be difficult for you to visit your loved ones in hospital. There are a few initiatives that we have kept in place, to help you to keep touch:

Patient messaging service

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: myvoice@somersetft.nhs.uk

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

M&S arrangement for patients at Musgrove Park Hospital

The M&S team at Musgrove Park Hospital’s Jubilee Concourse is offering a delivery service to patients on wards. This will enable you to contact the store directly and pre-pay for goods that you may wish to send into loved ones while you are unable to bring them in personally.

The type of items that can be delivered include toiletries, flavoured squashes or treats such as biscuits. It’s generally anything M&S stocks that does not need to be kept in a fridge. The minimum value of the purchase is £5.

The M&S team will deliver to ward reception areas once a day (mid-morning). The store can be contacted on 01823 338632 to take orders, payment, and delivery details.

Appointments and drop-ins

The 2-metre social distancing restrictions have now been removed in all waiting areas and public seating areas across our sites.

This includes lifting restrictions on the numbers of people in some rooms and lifts. Where capacity numbers were in place for health and safety reasons, these will remain.

Please wear a mask if you are a patient or visitor in these areas.

Attending an outpatient appointment, our emergency department (A&E) or minor injuries units (MIU)

While social distancing restrictions have been lifted, the space in our waiting areas is still limited due to a high demand on our services.

When attending appointments, A&E at Musgrove Park, or one of our seven MIUs in Somerset, you should try to come alone to reduce the number of people in our waiting areas. If you do need someone to be with you, please try and limit this to one family member, friend, or carer.

If you are visiting for an appointment, please try to arrive no sooner than 5 minutes before your appointment time.

Please wear a mask if you are a patient or visitor in these areas.

Virtual appointments

We will continue to run some clinics/appointments as virtual appointments to reduce the number of people needing to attend our sites – we have also received feedback that these have been well received and in many cases are much more convenient for our patients.

Infection control measures

Please continue to follow infection control measures while attending our sites:

  • We are asking all patients and visitors to our acute medical unit (AMU), same day emergency care (SDEC), emergency department (ED), minor injuries units (MIU), surgical assessment unit (SAU), integrated front door (IFD) and all outpatient departments to wear a mask at all times.
  • Mask stations can be found at most main entrances to our buildings
  • Practice good hand hygiene, and use the hand gel stations when entering or leaving clinical areas such as wards
  • If you are unwell, or are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home.

During the COVID-19 pandemic it has been necessary to restrict visiting to maintain the safety of patients, service users and our colleagues. In line with the national plan of ‘Living with COVID-19’, we aim to follow our open visiting plan, but there may be some occasions where visiting will need to be restricted once again. We keep this guidance under constant review, and will update when any changes are made.

Thank you for continuing to support us by following these measures, ensuring we can keep everyone safe.