From Tuesday, the rules for people visiting patients in Harrogate and Ripon’s hospitals will be relaxed following a decline in covid infections.
On December 23, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust tightened visitor restrictions because of the Omicron variant and the subsequent rise in infections. At one point the Harrogate district had the highest covid rate in North Yorkshire.
Visitors were only allowed for patients on end of life care, patients with a learning disability or severe cognitive impairment such as dementia. Parents or carers of children and birthing partners were also permitted.
But from Tuesday, patients can have one visitor, by appointment, between 2-4pm for 30 minutes. Only two visitors will be allowed in each bay at any one time.
Visitors are asked to book appointments by phone from Monday.
Bookings should be made directly with the ward where a patient is staying.
For Harrogate District Hospital call 01423 885959. For Ripon Community Hospital call 01423 542900 between 10am and 4pm and ask to be put through the relevant ward.
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Also from Tuesday, outpatients will be allowed to have one person accompany them to a hospital appointment. All visitors will have to wear a mask and sanitise their hands when they arrive.
Jonathan Coulter, acting chief executive at HDFT, said:
“Having reviewed our visitor guidance and the current covid transmission levels in the district we are pleased to welcome back visitors to our hospitals from Tuesday.
“Like so many other hospitals in the country, we did not take the decision to restrict visitors lightly. We understand the positive impact that seeing a familiar, friendly face, such as a family member or friend, can have on a patient’s recuperation, but due to the highly infectious nature of this devastating virus we needed to do all we could to prevent our patients and our staff from contracting the disease.
“We understand that our visitor restrictions have been challenging for some people and we would like to apologise for any distress they have felt, but introducing these restrictions may have prevented someone in our care from catching covid and becoming seriously ill or dying.”