VISITING restrictions are being eased at hospitals in Herefordshire as coronavirus patient numbers fall.

With the number of Covid-19 patients decreasing in recent weeks, Wye Valley NHS Trust has relaxed visiting restrictions to allow patients who have been in for more than seven days to have a daily visit from a nominated visitor providing this is arranged with the nurse in charge in advance so that social distancing can be maintained.

This applies to the general wards at 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.

Director of nursing Lucy Flanagan 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.”

While visiting is currently not permitted in specialist areas including ITU, Frome, AMU and GAU, restricted visiting will be allowed through individual arrangements that will be made in special circumstances and for patients receiving end of life care.

The trust has also updated visiting arrangements for the maternity ward in light of new national guidance.

In order to maintain safety for women, a support person and staff members, the following arrangements are now in place:

The nominated support person will need to undergo a twice weekly Covid test while their partner remains an inpatient on the maternity ward or delivery suite and should not attend if they have any Covid symptoms

Partners are allowed one visit per day, either between 9am and 2pm or between 3pm and 8pm

Patients who are admitted to the Stroke Unit are also permitted a visit from a nominated individual in the first 24-72 hours of their stay, while patients who are receiving end of life care will be enabled to have up to a maximum of four nominated visitors

“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,” added Lucy.

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.