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Coronavirus Kent: Medway Maritime Hospital restricts visiting times as pandemic spreads in UK

Hospital visits are being restricted in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham today announced visitor numbers will be limited amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Medway Maritime Hospital is limiting visiting times to help the fight against the virus
Medway Maritime Hospital is limiting visiting times to help the fight against the virus

The changes, coming into effect tomorrow, will see visiting hours reduced to a two-hour window from 6pm to 8pm.

Most wards in the hospital are usually open for 10 hours a day, but chiefs said the new policy is "necessary" in order to "protect our patients and staff" from the virus spreading.

Each patient will only be allowed two named adult visitors and no children are allowed into the hospital to visit without the agreement of the ward manager or nurse in charge.

Other changes include two parents or responsible carers/guardian per child and "more flexible visiting hours" only to be agreed with the ward manager.

Women in labour will be allowed two people to accompany them while giving birth.

Coronavirus causes flu-like symptoms and can result in pneumonia (31698642)
Coronavirus causes flu-like symptoms and can result in pneumonia (31698642)

For the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) only parents and guardians of the baby will be able to visit but visiting hours are due to be more flexible.

In a statement, the Medway NHS Foundation Trust said: "Discretion will of course be applied on compassionate grounds by the nurse/midwife in charge, particularly in relation to patients with dementia and those who are at end of life.

"Should you require any further details or have questions or concerns, please speak to the ward manager."

All outpatient appointments remain unchanged and are continuing as normal.

The statement added: "You will be contacted should this change. If attending an appointment, please try to attend alone, or with just one person to accompany you."

As a reminder, the trust said anyone with a new persistent cough or high temperature must not visit the hospital and should self-isolate at home for seven days.

NHS advice is to wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap or hand sanitiser to stop the spread of coronavirus
NHS advice is to wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap or hand sanitiser to stop the spread of coronavirus

It comes hours after the hospital's chief executive James Devine called out thieves for stealing hand gel and sanitiser around the site.

Mr Devine said it was "extremely disappointing" at a time when staff are working their hardest to ensure everything is in place to take care of patients and prevent the risk of infection spreading.

To protect against coronavirus follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

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