RESTRICTED VISITNG TIMES DUE TO COVID-19

From Tuesday 24 March, the Trust has taken the decision to suspend all visiting until further notice in order to protect our patients and staff.

Visiting is only be permitted in the following circumstances:

  • 1 birthing partner only during labour  
  • Parents only in the neonatal unit (no time restrictions)
  • Only 1 parent / carer per child at all appointments, in urgent and emergency care or when visiting children (no time restrictions)

We recognise there will be exceptional circumstances for patients who are receiving end-of-life care and families should talk to the ward manager.

  • Patients will be asked to attend hospital alone for any urgent treatment.
  • All visitors MUST wash their hands thoroughly as they enter and leave the wards or departments.
  • All visitors MUST wear PPE if asked to do so by our staff. 

Thank you for your support and co-operation

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is well prepared to effectively manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and we are working closely with all partners to respond to this challenging and rapidly changing situation.  

Our prime concern is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors.

Advice for the public

The NHS in the North East and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to protect patients, our community and NHS staff while ensuring as many services as possible are available to the public. 

Stay at home for 7 days if you have:

  •  new continuous cough 
  • a high temperature

Please do not book a GP appointment, attend your GP practice, pharmacy or hospital. 

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.

If anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days. The most up-to-date public guidance is always online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.  

Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online. 

Read our advice about staying at home.

U​rgent advice: Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

Only call NHS 111 if you are advised to do so by the online service or if you cannot get help online.

Everyone is being reminded to 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.More information can be found on the NHS website here

More information can be found on the NHS website here

For additional information you can read our frequently asked questions below:​

What is coronavirus and should I be concerned?

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019.
Generally, COVID-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough.  These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. 

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. 
 

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching COVID-19?

There are things you can do to help stop germs like COVID-19 spreading:

  • 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 more often than usual, for 20 seconds each time with soap and water or hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.  This is especially important to do after:
    • getting home or getting into work
    • blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
    • eating or handling food
    • using public transport. 
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
     

Is hand sanitiser effective?

The best way to protect yourself from infections like COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. If soap or water isn’t available and your hands are visibly clean, then sanitiser gel can be used. But proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice.

Should people wear face masks to protect themselves from infection?

Face masks play a very important role in clinical settings, such as hospitals, but there’s very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use outside of these clinical settings. 

What is the latest travel advice?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising:

  • against all travel to Hubei Province, in China
  • against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. See the latest travel advice for China.
  • against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea. See the travel advice for South Korea 
  • against all but essential travel to Italy. See the travel advice for Italy 

The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks.

FCO travel advice remains under constant review to ensure it reflects the latest assessment of risks to British people. 

What should I do if I have returned from one of the affected countries?

You should refer to the latest advice - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and follow guidance regarding self-isolation and contacting NHS111 as appropriate. If you need to be tested for COVID-19 this will be arranged via NHS111. Please do not come into hospital / urgent care / pharmacies or GP surgeries if you suspect you may have COVID-19.

Are the Trust’s hospitals open as normal?

Yes. Our hospitals are open as normal and we would ask that you continue to attend your appointments unless instructed otherwise. 

Are there any restrictions to visiting?

To help minimise the spread of COVID-19 and the risk of infection to our patients and staff, visiting is now restricted as follows:

Thank you for your support and co-operation

Restrictions on visiting adults

  • 1 visitor per patient on all adult wards
  • 1 hour per day only, between 6pm and 7pm
  • patients are being asked to attend outpatients or urgent and emergency care alone.  If not, only 1 relative / carer is allowed.

Restrictions on visiting: children’s wards/departments

  • 1 parent / carer per child at all appointments
  • 1 parent / carer in attendance at urgent and emergency care
  • there are no time restrictions on visiting children

Restrictions on visiting: neonatal unit  

  • parents only
  • there are no time restrictions on visiting neonatal

Restrictions on visiting: maternity services   

  • 1 hour per day only, between 6pm and 7pm
  • patients are being asked to attend appointments alone.  If not, only 1 relative / carer is allowed
  • 1 friend / relative at all appointments
  • 1 birthing partner only

All visitors MUST wash their hands thoroughly as they enter and leave the wards or departments.

All visitors MUST wear personal protective equipment (gloves mask and apron) if asked to do so. 

Please do not visit if you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus.  If you do need to visit our any of our hospitals, please ensure that you wash your hands throughout with soap and water or use hand sanitiser when you enter and exit wards and any patient or public areas. 

What happens if I need to be admitted to hospital?

Patients can be reassured that their safety is our top priority and plans are in place across the Trust to safely care for any patients who are admitted to hospital and test positive for Coronavirus.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations and patients will be cared for in isolation to prevent the spread of the virus. We have robust infection prevention and control procedures in place to protect our patients and staff.