Chief nurse urges patients and visitors to help keep our Sussex hospitals safe from covid

A plea has gone out from the trust which runs our Sussex hospitals for the community to follow hospital rules and keep safe as covid cases rise.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 7:41 am
Updated Thursday, 11th November 2021, 7:42 am

Scientists have made a recent discovery of a mutation to the Delta variant, ‘Delta Plus’ which has accounted for a rapid surge in covid cases throughout the nation within the past month.

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex) said cases in East and West Sussex had risen by nearly 50 per cent, resulting in concerns of the challenges that this may inflict on the NHS.

In light of this rise in cases the trust, which operates St Richard's in Chichester, Worthing, Southlands, Royal Sussex County in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and tends to more than 1.5 million outpatients annually; is appealing to locals to respect and support their ‘one patient, one visitor policy’ when entering your local hospital. This policy has been in effect since the beginning of the year, to aid the safety of their patients, staff and visitors.

Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath is run by UHSussex

To enable visitations to carry on during the uncertainty of the pandemic, the policy allows a pre booked visit of one person per patient, with exceptions to those in maternity and neonatal wards, visiting children or visiting patients receiving end of life care.

Chief Nurse Maggie Davies said: “There is still a pandemic going on and that is why we must have restrictions in our hospitals. This means we can only have one person visiting at any time for a maximum of one hour and this must be pre-booked. And anyone inside our hospitals must wear a face mask – and that includes visitors.”

In response to anti-social behaviour of visitors as a result of opposing opinions on the hospitals’ policies, she said: “We know that coming into a hospital can be a stressful time for visitors, but let’s all help one another and make it easier for everyone.”

Some visitors have arrived in groups to see a patient and have been aggressive or threatening to staff when told this was not allowed, she said.

People are reminded to only attend A&E Departments, like this one in Worthing, when it is absolutely necessary

Since the mandatory status of face coverings were lifted in July, some visitors also disagree with having to wear a face mask in hospitals. “This can lead to really unpleasant behaviour and attitude that our staff really shouldn’t have to deal with," Maggie said.

“Our patients are our always our main priority and it is important they receive the right care at the right time, in the right place. Hospitals across the country are really busy at the moment, and A&E is for very serious illnesses or injury, so people should only come to A&E when it is absolutely necessary.”

Maggie advised: “Where possible, people should contact their GP, their pharmacist, or call NHS 111, to discuss their complaint and how it will be best treated.”

If you are visiting a loved one in hospital, the trust asks that you ensure to book your visit at your patients’ ward, come alone and wear a fluid resistant surgical mask or pick one up on arrival.