Visiting rules relaxed as hospitals ‘learn to live with Covid’

Communications TeamNews

Hospital patient in bed

Hospitals in East Yorkshire are updating their visiting rules to reflect a changing approach to Covid-19.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, has removed the need for ward visitors to pre-book slots in advance, and now openly encourages loved ones to attend at mealtimes.

The move reflects a changing, more relaxed approach to Covid-19 as the impact from the virus reduces and a higher number of people carry the protection of vaccination.

Wendy Page, Interim Deputy Chief Nurse

Wendy Page, Interim Deputy Chief Nurse

Wendy Page, Interim Deputy Chief Nurse for the Trust says: “When the Covid-19 outbreak began, visiting was stopped altogether which was clearly upsetting for patients and their loved ones, but ultimately had to be done while there was so much unknown about the virus and the threat it posed.

“Over time, we’ve gradually been able to relax visiting rules in certain areas, and now we’re returning to essentially what is business as usual. We believe the current rules now offer patients plenty of opportunity to spend time with loved ones and afford visitors more flexibility over when and how they visit.”

Key changes include:

  • General ward visiting no longer needs to be pre-booked and can take place any time between 11am and 7pm
  • Patients can receive multiple visits during the day from different people, as long as there are no more than two people at a patient’s bedside at any one time
  • Visitors are actively encouraged to attend at mealtimes to help/encourage patients with eating and drinking

The ward sister or charge nurse still reserves the right to limit visiting where this is felt to be in a patient’s best interests or where, for example, there is an infection outbreak on a particular ward. In these instances, visiting will still be facilitated in exceptional circumstances.

Certain wards and departments still operate slightly different rules such as outpatients, neonatal, antenatal and emergency care; see for full details.

Wendy adds:

“Visiting by essential care givers, such as those caring for people with dementia or learning disabilities, has been unrestricted since last year on the basis that they know their loved ones best, and are the best people to advocate for and support those patients.

“This latest rule change now feels like a very welcome and timely continuation of this, so that every patient can benefit from company as and when they need it, or help at mealtimes and encouragement to eat or drink.

“Visits from friends and family can serve as a real boost to people when they’re poorly and help them on their way to recovery, so this is a really positive step forward for them and for our hospitals in the journey towards living with Covid.”

Full details of hospital visiting rules, including any specific arrangements or exceptions which apply to individual departments, can be found at