Published: 12:25, 20 November 2020
| Updated: 12:27, 20 November 2020
A hospital is introducing stricter rules on visits amid concern over rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the community.
From today, visitors will only be permitted at Maidstone Hospital in a small number of circumstances, for example to see patients receiving end-of-life care or to accompany children receiving treatment.
The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has also reminded visitors that they must be free of coronavirus symptoms and not currently under any self-isolation conditions.
Visits will have to be arranged in agreement with ward staff, in some cases by telephone.
A statement on the Trust website says: "Protecting our patients and those who care for them is our top priority during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in the local community we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily revise our visiting policy for Maidstone Hospital."
Hospital bosses also advise that people with chronic illness, or people aged 70 or older regardless of medical conditions, should not visit.
No visiting is permitted on Covid-19 wards, except in compassionate circumstances such as when patients are receiving end-of-life care. This includes the acute medical unit and acute assessment unit at both the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospital sites.
All visitors must enter by the main entrance at both hospitals and have their temperature checked. Face masks must also be worn.
A Trust statement on its website says: "The safety and well-being of our staff, patients and visitors is our priority and our teams across the organisation have been working hard to adapt our sites to ensure your safety when attending any of our sites during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
"We understand people may have concerns about attending a hospital appointment or undergoing surgery during these challenging times, but we want to assure you our hospitals are safe thanks to the additional infection prevention and social distancing measures we have put in place across our sites."