A NEW booking system is being launched in local community hospital and mental health wards as part of an easing of visiting restrictions this week.
At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak in March all community hospitals in Worcestershire and mental health wards across Herefordshire and Worcestershire were closed to visitors to minimise risk of infection and to keep patients and staff as safe as possible.
Instead virtual visiting was rolled out, with staff supporting patients to stay in touch with their families via video links.
But from this week visiting restrictions at Malvern Community Hospital, Wyre Forest Ward, Princess of Wales Community Hospital in Bromsgrove, Pershore Community Hospital, Evesham Community Hospital as well as Tenbury Community Hospital will be eased.
It means that each patient will benefit from a one hour visit from a relative/close friend per week.
The visitor must be the same person throughout their stay and they will be asked to book their visiting slot in advance.
Community hospitals in Worcestershire are run by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust which is also responsible for mental health services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
The new visiting system also applies to mental health wards across both counties from this week too.
Hannah Wilson, deputy director of nursing and therapy at WHCT said: “We know that visiting has a huge benefit for patients in our community hospitals and mental health wards but over the last few months we have had to improvise and be creative with virtual methods of keeping patients in touch with their loved ones.
“While we are still not able to get visiting back to pre-Covid levels, we are pleased to be able to ease the restrictions so patients can spend some face to face time with a family member/close friend during their stay with us.”
Visitors will also be required to wear a face mask at all times during their visit.