Visitors allowed back into the L&D but many restrictions remain in place

Advice is to bring a coat if attending A&E

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 5:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 5:57 pm
Queues that have been seen at Luton and Dunstable Hospital’s A&E department. Nov 2021

Some restrictions on visitors to Luton and Dunstable Hospital, introduced during the recent surge in Covid cases, are now being lifted.

All Covid infection prevention control measures remain in place but visitors are now welcome back to the adult in-patient wards, although only a designated visitor for each adult patient can visit every other day.

And visitors to A&E are advised to bring a coat and warm clothing.

The restrictions include taking a lateral flow test before attending a hospital appointment, wearing a face mask when entering the hospital, observing social distancing measures, washing your hands for 20 seconds when entering clinical areas, including wards and attending hospitals alone wherever possible. There are exemptions to allow more people into paediatric patients and those requiring carer support (patients with disabilities, translation / interpreting needs etc.

Visitors will need to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test and these cannot be provided by the hospital.

There has been no changes to restrictions in the Emergency Departments. Due to the high numbers of attendances it is likely that you may have to queue outside at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital (L&D). The hospital is advising the public to ensure they are in suitable clothing for the weather conditions where possible.

A spokesman for the hospital said: "On average, 25 Covid positive patients attend our Emergency Departments (EDs) each day. All during a time when we are seeing record demand for emergency care, especially for this time of year.

"As such, we are unable to relax any restrictions within these areas to limit the spread of the virus and maintain the health and safety of our staff and patients."

Visitors to the Emergency Departments will only be permitted under the following circumstances:

>To spend time with a patient who is in the final moments of their life

>To accompany a vulnerable patient with a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism

>To assist with patients’ communication or provide interpretation

>Only one parent or carer may accompany a child or young person.

For adult in-patient wards:

>Visiting suspensions has now been lifted on our adult inpatient wards across both sites.

>One close family contact or someone important to the patient can now visit for one hour, every other day. Visits from different people will not be permitted.

>All visitors must produce a negative lateral flow test result (via NHS app, email or text) before entering the ward

>All visitors must wear a face mask at all times whilst on the hospital site

>All visitors must wash/sanitise their hands

>If visitors have a household contact that is Covid-19 positive then they will be unable to visit

>All visitors will need to pre-book their visiting slot with staff on the relevant adult inpatient ward. Please do contact the ward directly for this

>Visiting times can be booked between the hours of 2pm to 6pm.

>For all relatives and loved ones who need to call for updates on an inpatient, please assign one person to call the ward for a daily update on a relative/loved one.

In exceptional circumstances, as listed below, special visiting can take place. Please discuss with the ward manager.

>If the patient is receiving end of life care or

>If the patient has dementia, learning disabilities or a mental health illness and need a carer/support present

>For exceptional visiting, you will be asked to produce a negative lateral flow test (LFT) on a daily basis.

>If you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 90 days, you will not be required to present this, but will need proof of a previous positive test on the NHS App, email or text and must be asymptomatic at the time of visiting.

Please do not visit the hospitals if you are:

>Unwell; especially if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough

>Self-isolating as a result of Covid exposure or potential exposure

Special visiting arrangements will remain for patients in maternity, NICU, Children’s departments and for those receiving end of life care.

In Maternity:

>One visitor a day is allowed to stay for four hours on our postnatal wards across both hospital maternity units. Other restrictions at both units will remain.

One partner can currently:

>Accompany pregnant women/people at all scans and antenatal appointments

>Stay with a pregnant woman/person during all times whilst on the Delivery Suite not just in established labour

It is important to note that these restrictions could change at short notice if it becomes unsafe to continue.

Lateral Flow Test (LFT) prior to visiting

All patients and visitors need to have a LFT prior to attending for an appointment or accompanying a pregnant woman/person for a maternity appointment (no more than 3 days or 72 hours before).

These tests are for people who do not have Covid symptoms.

You can find out where to attend for a rapid lateral flow test using the government website by entering your postcode here: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/

Alternatively, you can order a test online here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or if you cannot order online, call 119. Lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free.

A spokesman added: "We appreciate there can be difficulty accessing LFTs at times, but due to the increasing prevalence of Covid-19 and the risk to staff and patients, we cannot permit standard visiting without a negative LFT test result. Unfortunately, the Trust is not able to provide kits for visitors.

"If your swab is positive, please stay home and contact us to confirm you want to cancel your appointment or visit."