Resetting and Rebuilding Services

For COVID19 Updates in the Western Trust please click here.

As we RESET AND REBUILD our services, this information will change frequently. Check back regularly to keep up to date or alternatively, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

Working together with our health and social care partners across Northern Ireland, the Western Trust introduced a Service Reset Framework on 9 June 2020 to support staff in assessing the impact of scaling up or restarting services.

This planning reinforces the importance of COVID-19 safe environments and working practice to protect our staff, patients and service users and ensure there is a rigorous and careful approach to minimise transmission of COVID-19 and protect the most urgent services.

In close collaboration with our Health and Social Care partners regionally, we are preparing to move to Phase 2 of the Western Trust Reset Plan in early July 2020. This will include the preparations we need to ease the current restrictions on visiting across our hospitals and facilities. The Trust hope to introduce visiting in a phased manner in the coming weeks.

We again emphasise there are many challenges to be faced in this planning, as well as understanding there is a certain level of uncertainty with regard to Covid-19. With that in mind we must re-iterate that visiting patients in our hospitals will need to be organised differently for the foreseeable future in order to enable us and our visitors to comply with social distancing requirements. The Trust will always endeavour to ensure that any necessary changes are communicated to our patients and the public in a timely fashion as we implement any new visiting arrangement.

There are many challenges which we must prepare for ahead of this return and these include ensuring proper social distancing measures, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control requirements are in place.

The Western Trust wants to reassure you that we are committed to providing the best possible care to all our service users and patients and the Trust remains firmly focused on the restart of services whilst continuing to work diligently for the safe return of visiting to our facilities. Again we must emphasise that this will form part of an overall regional collaborative approach.

We understand the public’s need for further information at this time and can confirm that we continue to deal with a large volume of enquiries on a wide range of issues. We ask that you please work with us as we reset and rebuild our services with all the aforementioned crucial elements in place.


  • Western Trust Reset Plan - Stage One

    At the start of June, a set of guiding principles in the form of a ‘checklist’ was established by the Department of Health (DoH) to guide service planning.

    The Western Trust Stage 1 Plan identifies the services we have maintained throughout these initial months of the COVID19 pandemic across a wide range of areas. It identifies those that we will continue and others that we will begin to restart or scale up. It sets out some of the important preparation work needed to provide COVID19 safe environments and working practices, to protect our staff, patients and service users.

    Western Trust Reset Plan – Stage One

  • New Visiting Guidelines

    From 6th July 2020 all people visiting/attending any health and social care setting will be required to wear face coverings for the foreseeable future. The public will be required to supply their own face covering and will not be permitted to enter the facility without it.

    For full details of the new visiting guidelines click here.

    • Anyone showing or experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 or any other infection should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild and unconfirmed. In these circumstances the individual should remain at home and follow the latest public health advice on self-isolation and testing.


    • Each patient may nominate up to two people to visit throughout their hospital stay. (This will differ for care homes).


    • Visiting times are between 2.00pm – 3.00pm and 4.00pm – 5.00pm daily (excluding maternity), in order to assist the Trust to manage footfall of people in hospital and community facilities, and to maintain a safe environment for our patients and health care workers. Families will be provided with the specific visiting timetable and should not attend for visiting without prior arrangement with the ward.


    • Only one visitor at a time can visit (except in exceptional circumstances and discussed with the Ward Manager).


    • You are advised not to visit if you are shielding.


    • No children under 16 may visit.


    • Visits will be a maximum duration of one hour.


    • Visitors will be required to sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the hospital/care home/facility and again on entering and leaving the ward or area where the visit is taking place.


    • Entrance and exit points may differ and visitors are asked to adhere to the signage in place. The Trust also has a ‘keep left’ approach in place to promote social distancing.


    • Visitors should use the entrance closest to the ward/department they are accessing at Altnagelvin Hospital. The main entrance at South West Acute Hospital should be used by all patients and visitors.


    • Please note the Emergency Department entrance does not permit access to the main hospital.


    • Where possible virtual visiting remains the preferred option as this reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 and to support this, all areas will continue to facilitate virtual visiting.
    • Birth partner/nominated person will be facilitated to accompany the pregnant woman to fetal anomaly scan. Women must attend all other scan appointments in Ante Natal Clinic, Gynae Ward 43 and Fetal Assessment Unit on their own. This may be reviewed at a later date.


    • Ante Natal Ward – their birthing partner, who can stay for one hour on admission, can accompany women being admitted for induction of labour.Birthing partners can visit in Ante Natal Ward for 1-hour between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.


    • Labour Ward/ MLU – Birth partner/nominated person can remain with the woman during active labour and birth.


    • Post Natal Ward – Partner only will be permitted to visit for 1-hour period. Ward Manager depending on which room/bed the woman is in to allow for social distancing in four bedded areas will allocate the time slot.It will be either 2.00pm to 3.00pm or 7.30pm to 8.30pm.
    Emergency Department

    One person only to accompany patient where the patient is unable to understand or communicate with staff.


    Where it is necessary for the patient to attend face-to-face appointments, only one person to accompany where the person is unable to understand or communicate with staff.


    One person only to accompany patient where the patient is unable to understand or communicate with staff / requires physical or emotional assistance/ is a child, so must be accompanied by a parent or chaperone.

    The Trust would also like to remind the public that due to social distancing, very limited refreshments will be available on our hospital sites. At busier times, limited car parking will be available close to the main hospital entrances, therefore we would encourage the public to leave extra time for your journey.

  • Wearing a Face Covering

    A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a cotton scarf or bandana that ties behind the head. Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with

    A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

    Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

    Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.

    You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

    When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.