THE Wye Valley NHS Trust has tightened rules around hospital visits as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The trust said it's had to amend the visiting arrangements at its hospitals to further protect patients, visitors and staff in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the summer the trust relaxed visiting arrangements slightly to allow patients who have been in hospital for ten days or more to see visitors.

While this remains the case, patients in this category can now have a maximum of two visits per week – this was daily.

This applies to all hospitals the trust runs – Hereford County Hospital and the three community hospitals at Ross-on-Wye, Leominster and Bromyard.

A single nominated visitor must be identified and visits must be booked in advance with the nurse in charge.

Lucy Flanagan, director of nursing at the trust, said: "We want to pay tribute to all those patients who have been in hospital during the last few months and who have not been allowed to see visitors.

"We know this hasn't been easy but want to thank them and their families for respecting the visiting restrictions, this has enabled us to ensure patients are being treated in the safest environment possible.

"This added step is an extra precaution to help protect patients, staff and visitors."

The trust says it appreciates the benefits receiving visitors has on its patients and there are a number of exceptions.

Lucy Flanagan added: "Where there are exceptional circumstances we have allowed visitors during the pandemic and this will continue. We understand every patient is different, as are their needs and those of their family members.

"All we ask is that any visit is booked with the nurse in charge first.

All visitors will be screened at the hospital entrance – this means having temperatures checked and checks made to ensure they are not at risk of bringing an infection onto the hospital site.

Visitors will also be required to wear a surgical mask and maintain good hand hygiene. Patients will also be required to wear a surgical mask during the visit if clinically appropriate.