Visiting to Altnagelvin and Waterside Hospitals “cautiously” eased with 1-1-1 approach

15/07/2021

Following last week’s pause to visiting and after review by the Western Trust, visiting restrictions at Altnagelvin and Waterside Hospitals are being “cautiously” eased for the next seven (7) days, between Friday 16th and Friday 23rd July.

As a result from Friday 16th and initially for a period of seven days, the Trust is adopting a “1-1-1” approach. This means each patient, in both Altnagelvin and Waterside Hospitals, will be permitted one (1) visitor, for a maximum time of one (1) hour, once (1) in the week.

The situation will be reviewed again on Friday 23rd July. More frequent visiting in exceptional circumstances, such as at the end of life will continue to be permitted, as will visiting for birthing partners to maternity services, each in a risk assessed way.

The initial decision to impose visiting restrictions in Altnagelvin and Waterside Hospitals occurred on Friday 9th July after a significant increase in Covid-19 transmission in the North West community area, resulting in a sharp rise in admissions of Covid-19 patients.

The pause on visiting arrangements was scheduled for review after a period of one week, and although the North West remains the area of highest community transmission in Northern Ireland hospital admission numbers have remained relatively consistent. Therefore the decision was taken by the Trust to cautiously facilitate visiting again in a phased way.

Presently the Western Trust has a total of 31 COVID positive patients, with twenty-two (22) in Altnagelvin and nine (9) in the South West Acute Hospital.

Western Trust Executive Director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People’s Services, Dr Bob Brown, said:

“We are extremely grateful for the public’s understanding regarding our decision to pause visiting in Altnagelvin and Waterside Hospitals last Friday given the increasing COVID levels and hospital admissions being experienced at that time.

“We understand that changes to visiting arrangements can cause distress for family members as well as patients, however our first priority will always be patient and staff safety, and this informed the decision we took last Friday. We do recognise the importance of visiting as a means of supporting the wellbeing of patients and have further reviewed our position today”.

“It is the Trust’s intention to cautiously facilitate visiting again from tomorrow, Friday 16th July, in a phased way, by adopting a 1-1-1 approach.

“Simply, this means for the next 7 days between, Friday 16th and Friday 23rd each patient in Altnagelvin and Waterside Hospitals will be permitted 1 visitor, for a maximum of 1 hour, on one occasion in that week. More frequent visiting in exceptional circumstances, such as at the end of life will continue to be permitted, as will visiting for birthing partners to maternity services, each in a risk assessed way”.

“These adjustments come at a time when the Trust continues to deal with the additional pressures facing our Emergency Department teams. As a result we would ask that anyone attending our Emergency Department should attend alone unless they require someone else to accompany them for assistance or support”.

Speaking about the Western Trusts ongoing Mass Vaccination Programme, Dr Brown continued:

“This rise in community transmission in the North West highlights again the massive importance of our Vaccination Programme.

“Our vaccination teams have already administered over 200,000 Vaccine doses but we must continue to push forward with our efforts.

“In order to further facilitate everyone to receive the vaccine, we have now made all of our Mass Vaccination Centres walk-in facilities, in addition to pre-booking your vaccine there. We are also now rolling out Mobile Vaccine Walk-In Clinics and I would urge everyone, and in particular those aged 18-29, to come forward now to get your vaccine”.

“In light of this situation I would ask the public to continue to be vigilant to the risks of COVID-19 spread through adhering to all the Covid-19 guidelines currently in place such as social distancing, wearing of face masks and hand sanitising. Thank you and please continue to work together to stay safe”.

To find out about how you can get your vaccine at any of the Mass Vaccination Centres or Mobile walk-in clinics, you can visit the our Vaccination Info page.

If you are planning to attend one of our Hospitals, facilities or the Mass Vaccination Centres, please do not do so if you:

  • Are currently unwell with a high temperature or fever
  • Have had a first positive test for COVID-19 in the last 28 Days
  • You have been advised to self-isolate
  • Had any vaccine (including flu) in the last 7 days.

 

Anyone attending any Western Trust Facility or to the Mass Vaccination Centres, or mobile walk in clinics, is reminded to wear a face covering (unless exempt for medical reasons) and adhere to social distancing rules.