Hospitals in Greenwich and Lewisham have this week revised strict restrictions on visitors, allowing some to return as long as they meet certain criteria and follow certain measures.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust heavily restricted visiting at both its hospitals in March as Covid-19 took hold of the country and the government ordered the lockdown.

But after three months, the trust has revised its visiting arrangements in line with new national guidance, meaning some people can reunite with their loved ones inside hospital.

A number of visiting restrictions remain in place for the majority of patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, and University Hospital Lewisham, but the trust has said it is in "the best interests of our patients" to allow some visitors.

The NHS's priority continues to be to protect patients and staff, and guidance still states that you should not come into hospital with any sign of symptoms, including a high temperature above 37.8, a new, continuous cough or loss of sense of smell or taste.

Who's allowed to visit

  • Patients who are critically ill or nearing the end of their life, and who are Covid negative. A maximum of two named family members or those identified as important to them may visit.
  • End of life care patients who are Covid positive can be visited by only one named family member visiting wearing full PPE. Visiting times need to be agreed with the nurse in charge for the ward.
  • Patients who have dementia, a learning disability or autism may have one visitor if the visitor not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.
  • Adult patients who require assistance, for example because of a disability may be visited by one named carer.
  • Women during labour or a caesarean section may be accompanied by one birthing partner.
  • Children under 16 on our inpatient wards. Two named adults (usually parents) may visit, although not at the same time. Please contact the ward or department directly to discuss specific arrangements.
  • Babies in the Neonatal unit both parents may visit.

A number of measures are also in place for those visiting the hospital, including daily screening of NHS staff.

For visitors, face coverings/masks must now be worn when entering hospitals.

If you haven’t brought one with you, security guards at the main entrances can give you a single use mask, but if you are unable to do this, you will not be able to visit the patient and will be asked to leave.

Handwashing is also vital for stopping the spread of the disease, and when visiting someone in hospital you are recommended to wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water every time you enter or leave the bay.

In order to socially distance, visitors need to follow the one-way systems in place, and people are being told to keep a safe distance from other patients, visitors and staff where possible.

If social distancing cannot be maintained, you may be asked to visit another round.

The trust said: "We understand how difficult it is for our patients, relatives and carers at this time. Thank you for working with us to prioritise the safety of our patients, visitors and staff."

For all other patients, they will have to wait until visiting restrictions are eased at a later date.

These patients and their friends and families can keep in touch by using a phone/video call, as inpatient wards have access to phones and iPads to support this.