Visitor guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

We are pleased to be able to welcome back visitors to our hospital, but some important restrictions are still needed to reduce the risk of spreading infection.

The case rate in Swindon remains slightly higher than the national average, and so we remain cautious. 

  • There are no time limits to visits, but we ask that only one person at a time visits a patient and this should be a close family contact or someone important to them
  • Visitors must book ahead with the ward or department beforehand

We ask for your support with meticulous infection control practices while visiting, to help us reduce the possibility of the spread of infection.

If you consider yourself or anyone in your household as clinically vulnerable, we ask you to remain cautious and consider if visiting in person is the best thing to do.

We still support video calls to our patients and would still advise you to access this option if possible.

Please do not visit if you or anyone close to you any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been asked to self-isolate.

Extended visiting is possible in certain circumstances - e.g. for a carer if the patient requires them for ongoing personal, physical or emotional care and support while in hospital - e.g. those with learning disabilities or dementia.

Other circumstances where exceptions can be made include visiting on compassionate grounds, such as when the patient is at end of life.

Please contact our ward staff to book the nominated visitor in for an allotted time slot visit.

Exceptions to the restricted visiting must be agreed with the Nurse in Charge or Ward Sister.

Before visiting you should:

  • Contact the ward department/service setting to discuss appropriate local arrangements
  • Be informed about what to expect when they see the patient and be given practical advice about social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand washing

You are NOT able to come to the hospital if:

  • You are required to self-isolate because they live in a household where someone has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • You are displaying symptoms of COVID-19

Visitors that were previously 'shielding' should remain cautious about visiting and have strict adherence to the social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.

Accompanying others into hospital

Maternity Services

We are pleased to inform all pregnant women, birthing people and their families that from Wednesday 19 May 2021, in line with recent guidance we have made the following changes: 

  • All women/birthing people can have up to two birth supporters accompany them in labour to our Delivery Suite and the White Horse Birth Centre
  • All women/birthing people can have one person visit them on Hazel ward between 9.00am and 9.00pm 

Please be reminded that these changes do not apply to Gynaecology appointments and all other outpatient appointments. 

When visiting, you are politely requested to keep your movements within the hospital to a minimum.

Please bring plenty of supplies with you and continue to wear a face covering at all times.

As per Government guidance, we would encourage all women, birthing people and their households to undertake twice weekly COVID 19 testing.

For information on how you can order the testing kits, please see the UK Government website: Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests (www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests).

Please speak to your midwife if you need any further information or support.

Please see also Maternity Services: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Further information.

Accompanying a vulnerable patient with a physical or mental disability

Patients may be accompanied where appropriate and necessary to assist their communication and/or to meet their health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs.

Accompanying a patient under the age of 16

One parent or guardian may accompany a person under the age of 16 to the Emergency Department, the Urgent Care Centre, or to an Outpatients appointment.  

Acting as a nominated birthing partner

One person can be nominated to accompany a woman giving birth.

For further information, please see Maternity Services.

Outpatients and antenatal visits

One birthing partner can attend all pre-natal scans. 

Both the mother and her partner will need to have a lateral flow test at Great Western Hospital before the appointment. Children should not attend. 

Collecting a patient leaving hospital

If you are planning to collect a patient leaving hospital, please contact the ward or service for instructions on where to meet them.

Only one person should enter the hospital building to collect a patient.

Please do not wait for patients inside the hospital building, unless you have been asked to by a member of staff.

We do not want people waiting in corridors, in the main atrium reception area or anywhere else inside the hospital building.

This is because having lots of people inside the hospital increases the risk of infection to patients, staff and volunteers.

Staying safe in the hospital

If you visit the hospital you will be asked to wear a face mask or covering - please see Coming to the hospital or attending a GP appointment.

You may also be asked to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) by the ward or department you are visiting.

You should stay two metres away from other people where possible.

We ask all visitors to wash their hands before entering and leaving the building and to use the hand sanitiser outside each ward and department.

Further information 

Please see also Outpatients.

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