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Princess Alexandra Hospital visiting: Guidance updated in response to Government's Plan B rules on Omicron spread

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Guidance for people visiting patients at Harlow's Princess Alexandra Hospital – the closest general hospital to Bishop's Stortford – has been updated in the wake of the Government's Plan B restrictions to limit the spread of new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Visiting adult inpatients has been suspended – except in exceptional circumstances – and children are allowed only one visitor. There are no changes to visiting the maternity department.

Visitors must wear a face covering and wash or sanitise their hands before and after visits.

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow - Hamstel Road entrance. Picture: Vikki Lince
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow - Hamstel Road entrance. Picture: Vikki Lince

There are special arrangements for visiting patients at the end of their lives and for carers for patients with learning disabilities, dementia, mental health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) runs the Harlow hospital as well as Herts and Essex Hospital in Stortford and St Margaret's Hospital in Epping.

Sharon McNally, director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at PAHT, said: “We are implementing changes to our visiting guidance to protect our patients, their loved ones and our people as we respond to the latest information about Omicron.

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow – main entrance. Picture: Vikki Lince
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow – main entrance. Picture: Vikki Lince

“We understand how important visits are for the holistic care of our inpatients and we encourage all to use our virtual visiting service, with an opportunity to keep in touch with your loved ones while they are in hospital by video call.

"There is also the 'message to a loved one' service, where you can send special messages to inpatients on our wards that are delivered to them each day.”

For virtual visiting, email paht.virtualvisiting@nhs.net or call 01279 962661 (lines open 9am-12pm) to arrange a 10-minute video call on secure video conferencing software, or to find out more about your loved one's care. You can find more information on virtual visiting here.

Or keep in touch with your loved one in hospital by sending them a message. Email paht.messagetoalovedone@nhs.net or call 01279 962661 (lines open 9am-12pm). Read more about the message to a loved one service here.

If you are a carer intending to visit, call the ward first to speak to the nurse in charge or matron. You should test yourself to ensure you do not have Covid-19 and drive to and from the hospital, or be driven by a member of your household, to minimise the risk of exposure to others. On arrival on the ward, a member of staff will ask you a few questions.

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