Families still can’t visit patients at Royal London, Mile End and Newham hospitals

Newham University Hospital is run by Barts Health. Picture: Google

Newham University Hospital is run by Barts Health. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Barts Health will continue to only allow families to visit sick relatives in hospital in “exceptional circumstances”.

Mile End Hospital. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mile End Hospital. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Archant

Visitors have been banned in most hospitals during the pandemic to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But the easing of lockdown restrictions, with pubs, restaurants and nonessential shops reopening, has promoted calls for hospitals to be more accessible.

Barts Health, which runs the Royal London, Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital, Plaistow, and Mile End Hospital, said today that the strict restrictions would remain in place to help prevent infections spreading.

Chief medical officer Dr Alistair Chesser said: “We know how important it is for people in hospital to be able to see and talk to their loved ones, and vice versa. So the decision to restrict visitors is not one made lightly.

“But our first duty is to the patients we serve, and to maintain their safety at all times we need to control visiting. We are sorry for any distress this may cause.”

A trust spokesman added: “We are only allowing visitors in exceptional circumstances. Each case is assessed on its merits, but in general we would not allow more than one visitor per patient at a time and we may limit the length of time they spend at the bedside. We might also restrict visiting to a certain number of days of the week.

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“We understand that having a family member in hospital is distressing and we work closely with relatives and friends to ease their concerns and find alternative ways of keeping in touch.”