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Visitor restrictions eased at OUH


This article is from 17 March 2022. The situation may change with time.

Following updated guidance from NHS England and careful discussion with Infection Prevention and Control and senior nursing colleagues, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) will now ease some of their visiting restrictions from today, Thursday 17 March 2022, to align with national guidance.

Since March 2021, we have been following the 'Rule of One' – so one visitor, for one hour, per day, per inpatient. Visitors have been prohibited in the Emergency Departments and Outpatient Departments unless there are exceptional circumstances.   

The changes are as follows:

  • Inpatients, including patients in ICU, can have up to two visitors a day between the hours of 8am and 8pm for as long as needed (please note it must be the same visitors for the day)
  • Patients in Children's Services can have two parents or guardians with them for as long as needed (but no siblings) 
  • Maternity inpatients who aren't on the labour wards can have up to two visitors a day with them between the hours of 8am and 8pm (birth partner and one other nominated person) – please note that this only applies to inpatients and not to outpatient or scan appointments
  • Outpatients can have one person with them at their appointments
  • Social distancing in Outpatient Departments will reduce from 2m to 1m
  • Visitors will be prohibited in GP referral units and the Eye Hospital Emergency Department due to a high number of patients in these areas.

Emergency Assessment Units and Surgical Emergency Units will continue to follow the previous ‘Rule of One’ as these areas have high attendances and will be kept under review.

Visitors, for the time being, remain prohibited in Emergency Departments unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If people are visiting someone who has COVID-19, then they should speak to the Ward Manager before attending.

Consideration will continue for those in exceptional circumstances – such as patients with mental health support needs, patients with learning disabilities, patients with communication support needs, patients who do not speak English as their first language, patients who require carers, and patients who are sadly at the end of their life.

The Trust is also asking visitors to take a lateral flow test before attending our hospitals, and to adhere to COVID safety measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at OUH, said: "We have really missed the valuable input of visitors to our patients during the pandemic, and are pleased to welcome more of them back on-site in a controlled manner. We recognise that they play an important role in patient support and recovery, however we must still do all that we can to keep ourselves and those around us safe.

"COVID is still with us and we look after the sickest of patients – so people coming to our hospitals must still adhere to safety measures such as mask wearing and social distancing."

Full details on visitors to OUH's hospitals are available on our website.