More than two-thirds of hospitals STILL using outdated Covid restrictions to prevent patients from seeing loved ones
- More than two-thirds of NHS Trusts are still using outdated Covid restrictions for visitors
- The NHS told hospitals last March to open up to friends and family
- But many have been slow to adopt, despite a drop in Covid cases this week
Hospital patients are being denied cherished visits from their loved ones by NHS institutions using outdated Covid restrictions, it has been revealed.
Data shows 70 per cent of trusts are still enforcing rules dating back to the Covid lockdowns, despite NHS hospitals being told to open last March.
Most buildings still limit visitors to just two at a time, and some reunions are reduced to as little as an hour, The Telegraph reports.
A recent report from the Care Quality Commission found that more than half of pregnant women were denied support from their partner during childbirth last year, despite the end of Covid restrictions.
Data shows 70 per cent of trusts are still enforcing rules dating back to the Covid lockdowns despite NHS hospitals being told to open last March
The restrictions are enforced in all inpatient departments, as well as emergency departments, outpatient clinics and maternity units.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has been reluctant to impose new guidelines on visiting rules despite pressure from campaigners to end the ‘lockdown era’ policy. A source close to Mr Barclay claims he wants NHS frontline workers to make their own decisions about visiting rules in their hospitals.
Labor Shadow health minister West Streeting said it was ‘not good enough for Steve Barclay to stand idly by’.
After a resurgence towards the end of last year, Covid is once again on the wane – with the latest figures showing infections falling by a third in the week leading up to January 20.
During the darkest days of the pandemic, visits from family and friends were banned altogether to curb the spread of the virus, leading many people to say goodbye to their loved ones through painful phone calls.
After it was revealed in March last year that more than a quarter of trusts were still suspending visits, the NHS ordered hospitals to reopen.
Most hospitals still limit visitors to just two at a time, with some reunions being reduced to as little as an hour
Head nurse Ruth May repeated the message a month later, saying no patient should go to a hospital appointment alone.
But of 125 acute hospital trusts surveyed by The Telegraph this week, 88 still imposed curbs on visitors.
The most common restriction was limiting visits to one hour, as well as limiting the number of family members who could visit mothers and newborns.
At Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SaSH), maternity wards only allow one visitor to the bed at a time, meaning family members have to take turns.
SaSH stated on Friday evening that it is updating some of its visitor rules and will return to “pre-pandemic visitation rules” as of today.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘We are urging all trusts to follow national guidelines and ensure they facilitate visits.’
An NHS spokesperson added: ‘No one is alone in their care or treatment unless it is their choice.