Visiting restrictions are to be eased from Tuesday 8 March 2022 at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s (HDFT) hospitals in Harrogate and Ripon following a decline in COVID-19 infection rates in the Harrogate district.
Visiting rules have been relaxed following a review at HDFT of the current guidelines which restricted visiting for inpatients on wards and for visitors accompanying people to their outpatient appointments.
Tightened visitor restrictions had been introduced in December due to the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron variant and following an increase in infections which saw the Harrogate district have the highest COVID-19 infection rate in North Yorkshire.
Under the new guidelines, from Tuesday 8 March, inpatients at Harrogate District Hospital and Ripon Community Hospital may have one visitor, by appointment, between the hours of 2pm-4pm for a duration of 30 minutes. Only two visitors are allowed in each bay at any one time.
Visitors will be able to call to book an appointment from Monday 7 March. Bookings should be made directly with the ward on which the patient is staying by calling Harrogate District Hospital on 01423 885959 or Ripon Community Hospital on 01423 542900 between 10am and 4pm and asking to be put through to the relevant ward. At the time of booking, visitors will be asked to answer screening questions to ensure that they are safe to visit.
From Tuesday 8 March, outpatients visiting one of the hospitals for an appointment may have a maximum of one person accompany them if required.
Visitors must not have any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, and must not have tested positive for COVID-19 or had contact with someone who has had the infection in the last 10 days.
Anyone visiting the hospitals will be required to wear a mask provided by the hospital, wash and sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the hospital/ward they are visiting, and stay with their relative whilst on the ward.
Jonathan Coulter, Acting Chief Executive at HDFT, said:
Having reviewed our visitor guidance and the current COVID-19 transmission levels in the district we are pleased to welcome back visitors to our hospitals from Tuesday.
Like so many other hospitals in the country, we did not take the decision to restrict visitors lightly. We understand the positive impact that seeing a familiar, friendly face, such as a family member or friend, can have on a patient’s recuperation, but due to the highly infectious nature of this devastating virus we needed to do all we could to prevent our patients and our staff from contracting the disease.
We understand that our visitor restrictions have been challenging for some people and we would like to apologise for any distress they have felt, but introducing these restrictions may have prevented someone in our care from catching COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill or dying.