Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust say the move, which affects all of its healthcare venues, including Rutland Memorial Community Hospital in Oakham, was essential due to the rise in infections sparked by the Omicron variant.
Visits will still be allowed in exceptional circumstances, when patients are being cared for end of life, where the visit of a close family member or carer/friend would alleviate significant mental or physical distress to the patient or if the patient is a child being visited by a parent or an appropriate adult.
Dr Anne Scott, executive director of nursing for the trust, said: “We apologise for the distress and inconvenience this will cause.
“However, this is a vital infection prevention and control measure to limit the further spread of Covid-19 among vulnerable groups of hospital inpatients.
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“All supported visitors will need to book a visiting slot with the ward and answer a series of screening questions.
“They must also ensure they carry out a lateral flow test on the day of visiting and will be required to wear a surgical facemask.
“To keep patients and staff safe, you must not visit if you test positive for coronavirus or have any symptoms.”
Visitors are asked not to attend if they have symptoms such as a new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of or change in your normal sense of smell or taste, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, sickness and/or diarrhoea, in the last 48 hours prior to visiting.
Dr Scott added: “We recognise the importance of connecting patients with their families, friends and carers and therefore strongly recommend virtual visits where possible.
“All wards have been equipped with dedicated tablet computers to make this possible.”
The guidance at trust health venues will be reviewed on Tuesday.
This includes the following trust sites:
The full list of venues where it applies is Agnes Unit, Leicester; Beacon Unit, Leicester; Bennion Centre, Leicester; Bradgate Mental Health Unit, Leicester;
Coalville Community Hospital; Evington Centre, Leicester; Herschel Prins Centre, Leicester; Hinckley and Bosworth Community Hospital; Loughborough Community Hospital; Melton Mowbray Community Hospital; Mill Lodge, Narborough; Rutland Memorial Community Hospital; Stewart House and The Willows, Narborough; St. Luke’s Community Hospital, Market Harborough.
The trust’s ‘Message to a Loved One’ service has been established to help inpatients keep in touch with loved ones while they are in hospital during this time. Visit www.leicspart.nhs.uk/contact/patient-advice-and-liaison-service-pals/message-to-a-loved-one/ to find out more.