Visitors will be welcomed back on to Walsall Manor Hospital wards from Monday 17 May – assuming local case numbers of Covid-19 continue to fall and they have no virus symptoms.
A booking system has been set up and one visitor per patient per day will be allowed to come into the hospital and stay for up to an hour with the patient.
All visitors will need to report to the Welcome Hub in the main entrance of the hospital in Pleck Road to collect their visiting pass. They are strongly advised to have taken a Covid-19 test (Lateral Flow Test) before they attend the hospital.
They will be asked to show evidence, where possible, of a negative test result. Free testing kits are available via Boots, Lloyds, supermarket pharmacies and many local pharmacies.
If visitors have been unable to take a Covid-19 test they can take one at the hospital. A test bus will be available near to the main entrance of the hospital between 12.30pm and 5.30pm for visitors to take a test – but they must arrive 45 minutes before their allocated visiting time to do so and report to the Welcome Hub first.
Ann-Marie Riley, Director of Nursing, at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the trust has supported compassionate visits in exceptional circumstances including End of Life Care.
“We know that this has been a really difficult time for patients and their loved ones but have had to adhere to national guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible, including our own staff. We are now really pleased to be able to relax restrictions a little to offer controlled visiting from next Monday.”
People attending outpatient appointments, diagnostic tests and the Emergency Department will all be able to be accompanied by one close family member or friend to support them.
Visitors will be allowed on to wards within an allocated time slot between 1pm and 8.15pm. Each visit will be up to one hour and must be limited to one person that day –visitors will not be able to swap around within the time slot. There will be 15 minute intervals between visiting slots to allow for appropriate cleaning and to allow for those entering and leaving the hospital.
Slots will need to be pre-booked via a special online form on Walsall Healthcare’s website where possible; all visitors will need to wear a face covering on arrival and will then be provided with a surgical face mask for the visit. They will also need to practice hand hygiene to minimise infection risk.
“We appreciate that some people have large families and it will be difficult to choose a designated visitor but our Patient Experience Team and volunteers will continue to support patients to face time or video call their loved ones as they have done throughout the pandemic,” added Ann-Marie.
Visiting numbers have been worked out in accordance with total bed numbers on each ward and children under the age of 16 are not allowed to visit unless in exceptional circumstances.
Ann-Marie said: “If a patient has had to be moved to a different ward for any reason we will work with their visitor to agree an alternative time so they don’t miss out on their visit.
“We thank everyone for the patience and understanding they have shown over the last year and ask them to work with us by sticking to the rules at this time so that we can, hopefully, move towards even greater visiting opportunities in the near future. We ask people to bear with us as we introduce this new system.”
Same day visiting slots need to be booked from 8am until 4pm. Slots cannot be booked days in advance.
The online booking form can be accessed here.
If people cannot access Walsall Healthcare’s website they can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who need additional support can contact the Welcome Hub on 01922 444040.
Visitors should not contact wards directly to make arrangements.
If you have any of the recognised symptoms of Covid-19 which are a raised temperature, new, continuous cough or loss of/change in taste or smell please do not come into the hospital. You will need to self-isolate at home for 10 days and organise a test; members of your household should also self-isolate for 10 days.