We’re pleased to welcome visitors back into GWH.
Visitors are permitted across the hospital, including on COVID-19 wards, as outlined below:
- Two visitors per patient but for any length of time (previously restricted to just one hour a day) on most wards
- One visitor - who must phone in advance - for patients being treated on a COVID-19 ward
- Visitors must have had no COVID-19 exposure or recent COVID illness (within the last 10 days)
- Visitors must wear PPE as instructed by staff
- Those who are at risk of harm if COVID infection is acquired should continue to use virtual visiting (special phone lines and video calls) instead - please see below
- There is no need to call the ward in advance
There are some exceptions - please see below.
Wearing a mask
Following an increase in Covid-19 admissions to Great Western Hospital, we have reintroduced mask wearing in all clinical areas at the hospital and in our GP practices, Moredon and Abbey Meads.
Mask wearing is not required in corridors or non-clinical spaces, but patients and visitors can choose to wear one at all times if they wish.
Masks are available from entrances to the hospital if you arrive without one.
Visiting in the Emergency Department or Urgent Treatment Centre
We are pleased to be able to reintroduce visitors in the Emergency Department (ED) and Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC).
From Monday 11 April, patients are permitted to attend ED or UTC with one other person, with the exception of some patients – such as those receiving end of life care – who may be able to have more than one visitor, at the discretion of senior nurse or doctor.
Some spaces in the Emergency Department are limited, so visitors will not be able to stay for a prolonged period of time in these areas – staff will make you aware.
Visitors to the Observation Unit and Majors Stepdown will be asked to visit only for one hour a day. Children can be accompanied by one visitor to the paediatric Emergency Department, and it will be at the discretion of a senior nurse or doctor for an additional visitor to also attend. We will support two visitors for children where possible.
Whilst it’s really positive that we can reintroduce visiting in these areas, the department are currently extremely busy and physical space is restricted. We recognise the importance of patients being with loved ones when coming to hospital, but we would ask that patients still continue to attend alone wherever possible so that the space does not become too busy.
Seats will be reserved for patients, so visitors may have to stand for prolonged periods.
Visiting in maternity services
We are now able to relax visiting restrictions even further across our maternity services.
This means open visiting from 9:00am for one birthing partner who will be able to stay overnight for induction of labour and following the birth of your baby/ies. An additional visitor can attend between 02:00pm - 08:00pm, and siblings will be able to visit between 09:00am - 09:00pm.
Special phone lines
Visiting or speaking with friends and family is important to the wellbeing of our patients and we are doing all we can to help patients stay in touch with their loved ones with phone and video calls.
All wards have a special phone available to patients' families and their carers, which can be taken to the patient's bedside - please ask a member of the ward staff for details.
All wards have facilities for online 'virtual visiting' via Microsoft Teams - please ask a member of the ward staff to organise this for you.
Exceptions to visiting guidelines
There are exceptions, including visiting patients receiving end of life care, children and women under the care of our maternity service. Family, friends and carers are therefore encouraged to contact individual wards with any questions or concerns.
All visits must be arranged in advance with the ward manager or nurse in charge, who will make a decision based on individual circumstances.
- Carers are able to visit patients who require them for personal, physical or emotional care and support - e.g., patients with learning disabilities or dementia.
- Both parents or guardians of children can visit at the same time.
- One parent or guardian may accompany a person under the age of 16 to the Emergency Department, the Urgent Treatment Centre, or to an Outpatients appointment.
- Family, friends or carers of patients who are receiving end of life care. Decisions about the number of visitors and the time spent with the patient will be made on a case-by-case basis to meet the needs of the family.
When visiting, you are requested to keep your movements within the hospital to a minimum, so please bring plenty of supplies with you.
Please speak to your midwife if you need any further information or support.
Please see also Maternity Services: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Further information.
- 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.
Rules for visitors
- If you are self-isolating or symptomatic, even if mild or intermittent, or living with someone with COVID, you must not visit for 10 days after exposure, regardless of vaccination status.
- Visitors will be expected to wear the appropriate level of respiratory Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during their visit (especially if the patient has tested positive for COVID); the ward staff will help with this.