As the country readies itself for the end of legal COVID-19 restrictions, we’re stressing that in the interests of public and staff safety, hospital settings must retain strict infection control procedures.
Staff, patients and visitors at the University Hospital of North Tees, University Hospital of Hartlepool and Peterlee Community Hospital will still be required to wear masks and face coverings, adhere to physical distancing measures and practice good hand hygiene at all times.
Chief nurse Lindsey Robertson said: “We wish things could be different but the simple fact is COVID-19 remains a very real threat.
“We’re all seeing the same news items talking about increasing numbers of infections, even among people who have been vaccinated.
“Protecting our patients and keeping our staff healthy so they can support the public are our absolute priorities.
“We’re appealing to everyone to wear a mask when they come into our hospitals and not put our colleagues in the awkward position of having to ask them to comply with our infection control processes.”
Visiting patients will still be strictly controlled, limited mainly to children, one birth-partner or end of life patients. Families are asked to stay in contact with their loved ones in hospital via apps such as FaceTime and WhatsApp. Throughout the pandemic, the
Trust has been offering support through its virtual visiting scheme for those less familiar with such technology.
Lindsey also appealed for people to be COVID-conscious in their personal life.
She said: “We all want to return to normal, but we’re asking everyone to voluntarily continue wearing masks while shopping and taking part in other social events.
“To be frank, we are very concerned about a third surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelming our hospitals, pushing our staff to their limits and resulting in other appointments and procedures having to be cancelled again.
“NHS staff all over the country have been touched by the support of the public during the pandemic. The best way they can keep supporting us right now is to do all they can to reduce the chances of COVID-19 infections in the community.
“Please keep wearing your masks, maintain a safe distance from other people, avoid large crowds and regularly wash your hands. Please keep doing your bit in the fight against this deadly pandemic.”