NHS leaders have confirmed that there will be no immediate changes to the current COVID-secure arrangements in healthcare settings from 19 July when restrictions are eased elsewhere.

This means all staff, patients and visitors must continue to follow guidelines, including wearing a face covering and complying with social distancing and hand hygiene guidance as before.

Craig Bradley, Director of Infection Prevention & Control, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“Whilst a large number of our population are now vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, people can still contract the virus without feeling any ill effects and pass it on to others. It’s therefore really important to keep following the guidelines when visiting healthcare settings in order to protect those who remain vulnerable to COVID.”

John Trevains Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We hope people will appreciate that these decisions are not taken lightly, and are always in the interests of our patients and healthcare staff. We’ve all made huge efforts in the last year or so to protect the NHS and save lives, and while COVID-19 is still prevalent in our community it’s still important to keep wearing face coverings and following social distancing and hand hygiene guidance when visiting one of our sites to help keep everyone safe.”

Dr Andy Seymour, Clinical Chair at NHS Gloucestershire CCG said: “As we continue to see restrictions lift, we are urging people to be cautious when visiting places where they may come into contact with those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Please do not visit a GP surgery or hospital if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and if you are coming in for an appointment, please continue to think hands, face, space.”

“Continuing to get a test to confirm if you have the virus and self-isolating if the result is positive remain vital in keeping people safe and keeping cases of COVID-19 in our community to a minimum.”

Patients and visitors are reminded:

• When in a healthcare setting, a face covering must be worn at all times and people must adhere to social distancing guidelines
• Please wash your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area
• If you have a medical exemption for wearing a face covering, please consider whether your medical condition makes you more vulnerable to infection if visiting and consider digital options where possible. Ask your healthcare professional for advice if needed.
• Please do not visit healthcare settings if you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been instructed to self-isolate or have received a positive COVID-19 test
• Hospital and inpatient unit visiting restrictions remain in place – find all the information you need to know

The county’s Infection Prevention and Control Group are reviewing these requirements regularly and will respond to any future changes in national guidance or community transmission rates as necessary.