Sheffield Teaching Hospitals suspends visiting again from today due to spread of Omicron Covid variant

Visiting at some Sheffield hospitals is being temporarily stopped from today due to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in the local community.

Friday, 31st December 2021, 10:09 am

The decision was made today (December 31) to halt visiting at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust indefinitely after 1,659 Sheffielders tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

In exceptional circumstances, for example end of life care patients, visiting arrangements can be made by contacting the ward directly.

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Visiting will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances, such as for end of life care patients and childbirth.

Chief Nurse Chris Morley said: “Sadly the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is now spreading rapidly in the local community and whilst we have been trying to maintain some visiting because we realise how important this is to patients and relatives, unfortunately the increase in cases does now pose a greater risk of our patients acquiring the virus.

“A proportion of people with Omicron appear to have no symptoms and regrettably as a result we have seen some transmission in our hospitals which has been linked to visiting. We have to put the protection of our patients, some of whom are vulnerable or immuno-compromised, as our first priority and so we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily stop all visiting unless there are exceptional circumstances.

“We recognise how important it is for family and friends to keep in touch and in particular for patients’ next of kin to have conversations with staff about their loved one’s progress or care decisions. We already have free WIFI and Ipads for patients to use but we will explore other options too.

“We will of course continue to monitor the situation with a view to reinstating visiting as soon as we can do so safely.”

One birthing partner or nominated support person will be allowed to be present during labour and birth at Jessop Wing, and visit the antenatal and postnatal wards by arrangement with the ward.

Kirsten Major, Chief Executive at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, tweeted: “Incredibly sorry we've had to do this, the transmissibility of omicron means it is important to patient safety to minimise the number of people in our hospitals for now. Will be kept under review and reversed ASAP.”