Hospitals still using Covid rules to stop patients seeing relatives

Hospital patients are being denied visits from loved ones by trusts using outdated Covid restrictions, The Telegraph can reveal. Analysis shows that despite the NHS

telling hospitals to open up last March, 70 per cent of trusts still have some form of visiting restrictions in place. A majority of hospitals are still not allowing more

than two visitors at a time, with some patients only able to see friends and family for one hour a day. Other hospitals are preventing close contacts from attending

appointments. Across inpatient wards, accident and emergency departments, outpatient clinics and maternity wards, The Telegraph has found instances where families are being

restricted from seeing loved ones. Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, is resisting setting any “national diktats” on visiting rules, despite calls from patient campaigners

to end “lockdown-era policies”. It comes as Covid wanes across the country, with infections down by a third in a week. In March last year, NHS England told hospitals to open

up after The Telegraph revealed that more than a quarter of trusts had suspended visits completely. Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer, said a month later that no patient should

have to attend a hospital appointment alone. However, of the 125 acute hospital trusts analysed by the Telegraph this week, 88 still had some form of restrictions in place.

The most common was limiting visits to one hour, as well as restrictions on how many family members could visit mothers and newborns.