BARNSLEY Hospital has announced that all non-essential visiting will be suspended following a rise in coronavirus cases in the town.

The new rules came into effect yesterday (October 14) and are hoped to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

Until further notice, visiting will only be permitted in the following circumstances:

  • For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill and in the late stages of their illness.

  • For birthing partners in maternity units.

  • For birthing partners to accompany mothers to 12 and 20 week ultrasound appointments.

  • By arrangement with your midwife, to provide emotional support for women attending scans during early pregnancy.

  • For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit.

  • For long-stay patients and those with dementia or where best interest decisions or exceptional clinical/social matters are being discussed, at the discretion of the nurse or midwife in charge.

The hospital also offers 'virtual visiting' for inpatients which gives them the opportunity to phone or video call their friends and family members with the help from staff.

Anyone attending outpatient or diagnostic appointments, or attending the Emergency Department is asked to do so alone unless they need to be accompanied by a carer.

All visitors to the hospital must wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth at all times unless there is an exemption.

Children under the age of 11 are not expected to wear a face covering.

Where possible, visitors are asked to avoid using public transport when they visit the hospital to minimise the risk of exposure to others.

Barnsley Hospital’s director of nursing, Jackie Murphy, said: “In light of the increased numbers of cases of coronavirus across our region, we feel we have to take action now to protect our patients, staff and local community.

“Suspending non-essential visiting is a difficult decision to make however, given the current situation in our communities, it is the right one if we are to reduce the spread of coronavirus and take care of our most vulnerable patients.

“Our nursing teams know the positive impact seeing and hearing from loved ones can have on a patient so we urge families to make use of our virtual visiting service to stay connected.”

Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus, if you are in shielding, or self-isolating should not visit the hospital.