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Visiting restrictions at Derry hospitals to be eased from today

Each patient at Altnagelvin and Waterside hospitals will be allowed one visit per week

Impressive new entrance unveiled at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry

The new entrance to Altnagelvin Hospital.

Visiting restrictions at Altnagelvin and Waterside hospitals in Derry are being 'cautiously' eased for the next seven days, the Western Trust has said.

From today, the hospitals are adopting a '1-1-1' approach.

This means each patient, in both Altnagelvin and Waterside hospitals, will be permitted one visitor, for a maximum time of one hour, once in the week.

The situation will be reviewed again on Friday, July 23.

The initial decision to impose visiting restrictions occurred on July 9 came after a significant increase in Covid-19 transmission in the community, resulting in a sharp rise in hospital admissions of Covid-19 patients.

A Trust spokesperson said: “The pause on visiting arrangements was scheduled for review after a period of one week, and although the North West remains the area of highest community transmission in Northern Ireland hospital admission numbers have remained relatively consistent.

“Therefore the decision was taken by the Trust to cautiously facilitate visiting again in a phased way.

“Presently the Western Trust has a total of 31 Covid positive patients, with twenty-two (22) in Altnagelvin and nine (9) in the South West Acute Hospital.”

Western Trust Executive Director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People’s Services, Dr Bob Brown, said: “We are extremely grateful for the public’s understanding regarding our decision to pause visiting last Friday given the increasing COVID levels and hospital admissions being experienced at that time.

“We understand that changes to visiting arrangements can cause distress for family members as well as patients, however our first priority will always be patient and staff safety, and this informed the decision we took last Friday.

“We do recognise the importance of visiting as a means of supporting the wellbeing of patients and have further reviewed our position today.”

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