“I was overcome with emotion which made the staff on the reception desk cry too but this was such a big thing for me – I haven’t seen my mum for 15 months!”
Jo Beddows is one of hundreds of visitors who have been welcomed back to Walsall Manor Hospital this week as restrictions have been eased.
She came to see her 88-year-old mum Jean On Tuesday and explained: “Mum’s in a care home and I’ve been phoning her every day, with the hope of being able to visit her now that restrictions have eased.
“Unfortunately, she had a fall and ended up in hospital which isn’t where I imagined our reunion would take place but it was wonderful to see her and be able to hold her hand. She looks better than I expected considering how life has been all these months.
“I was an emotional wreck and made the staff cry on the reception desk but I’ve been teasing mum because she didn’t actually shed a tear. We’ve all been overcome with emotion and she’s been as calm as anything!
“I live 200 miles away so when I heard hospital visiting was being allowed I was so happy to know I could see mum.”
Jean, a former bank clerk and school secretary, took Tuesday’s reunion in her stride but did say: “I am happy to see her after all this time.”
Ann-Marie Riley, Director of Nursing at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are so happy to be welcoming visitors back and thank them for working with us to help minimise infection risk by taking a Lateral Flow Test before arriving for their appointment.
“We still need to be cautious about the virus so that we keep everyone as safe as possible but hearing stories such as Jo’s is music to our ears and we know our patients’ spirits have definitely been lifted this week.”
Garry Perry, Head of patient Experience and Relations added: “I’d like to thank our staff for their professionalism and team work – they are every bit as delighted as our visitors to be able to support people to see their loved ones again.
“The support from our volunteers and public health colleagues has also been invaluable.”
A booking system has been set up and one visitor per patient per day is allowed to come into the hospital and stay for up to an hour with the patient.
All visitors 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.
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 https://forms.office.com/r/T7rAPnMejK
If people cannot access Walsall Healthcare’s website they can email email@example.com
Those who need additional support can contact the Welcome Hub on 01922 656308 or mobile 07976 860888.
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.