Visiting our hospitals

COVID-19 guidance for visitors 

The visiting guidance at The Princess Alexandra Hospital was updated on 19 April, in line with the Government’s roadmap to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions.

The changes ensure that we can provide high quality care whilst keeping our patients, visitors and staff safe.

Please take a look at the updated guidance below. You can also read the full maternity department visiting guidance here.

Visiting

For each patient, one visitor is permitted, for a maximum of 45 minutes per day. This must be the same visitor for the duration of the patient’s stay and must be booked in advance with the ward team.

Visitors must follow all advice on infection prevention and requests from our people. We will be required to ask visitors to leave if they do not follow the advice or are not the patient’s designated visitor.

There are special arrangements for:

  • Parents/carers of children
  • Support partners in maternity
  • Visiting patients who are at the end-of-life
  • Carers and paid personal assistants
  • Visiting patients where assistance is being provided for communication e.g. for patients with learning disabilities, dementia, mental health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs 

How can I arrange my visit?

  • If you are the nominated visitor, you will need to call to book your visit time the day before - please call the ward before you intend to visit and speak to the nurse in charge to book a time slot. The available time slots are to be confirmed with the ward staff.
     
  • A member of staff will ask you a few questions:
  • If you are displaying any current symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you or any members of you household have high-risk conditions

Our team will then advise whether it is suitable for you to visit the hospital.

Before visiting the hospital

Please adhere to the following guidance when visiting our hospital:

  • On arrival please ensure you scan the NHS Track and Trace QR code to register your visit.
  • All visitors must always wear a face covering, including when entering and moving through the hospital. Visitors will be asked to wear a surgical facemask if visiting a high-risk area or a patient with suspected/known COVID-19.
  • If you are a parent or guardian, you must wear a face covering when entering and moving through the hospital. You must also wear your face covering when our teams are caring for your child/young person.

If you are with your child and/or young person and within your ‘family bubble’ inside rooms or physical environments that are separated, you can remove your face covering.

  • You should bring as few personal belongings as possible with you, e.g. bags, handbags, electronic devices, gifts and food for the patient.
  • You should remove your outer clothing, e.g. coat or jacket, roll up your sleeves and clean your hands.
  • All visitors must wash or sanitise their hands before and after visiting relatives – there are handwashing and sanitising stations located throughout the hospital.
  • Please do not enter the hospital in you feel unwell
  • If you have a high temperature or new cough please return home and self-isolate
  • Please only visit the areas of the hospital where your relative or friend is staying

After your visit

  • Please ask for support if you would like to be accompanied as you walk away from the care setting as this can be a particularly difficult time.
  • Avoid using public transport – especially after the visit. Visitors driven by a person close to them may welcome the support that person can give after a visit.
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 after your visit, you will need to self-isolate at home for 10 days and organise a test; members of your household should also organise a test and self-isolate for 14 days.

If you are unable to visit in person

Our visitor information service enables family and friends of inpatients to keep in contact with their relatives and stay informed about their care if they are unable to visit in person.

Please email paht.virtualvisiting@nhs.net or call 01279 962661 (Lines open 9am-12pm) to arrange your ten-minute video call and find out how to join the call that will be hosted on secure video conferencing software, or to find out more about your loved one's care.

You can find more information on virtual visiting here.

You can also keep in touch with your loved one by sending a message to them. Please email paht.messagetoalovedone@nhs.net or call 01279 962661 (Lines open 9am-12pm). You can read more about the message to a loved one service here.

Where to go for help

Please remember that the emergency department (ED) is for patients with serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries. If you do not have serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries, there are a range of services available for you. This includes NHS 111, Urgent Treatment Centres, your GP or pharmacy. You can access more information here.

Norovirus (vomiting bug) 

Please do not visit our hospitals if you have been unwell with sickness and/or diarrhoea, or you have been in contact with someone with these symptoms, until at least 48 hours after experiencing the last symptom. 

Norovirus can spread very easily from person to person – please protect our patients and people by not visiting our hospitals until you are better.

Patient and next of kin contact tracing

We understand that your loved one being in hospital during this unprecedented time is one of the most difficult experiences you may go through. To keep the important people in our lives informed and safe, we are working with Essex County Council and Public Health England to contact our patients and their next of kin, where appropriate. If you would like to know more about how we use data, then please read our privacy notice.

If you wish to send a message to a relative in hospital, please refer to the details above.

Filming and photography

We recognise, whilst at our hospital, our patients or their families may wish to mark an occasion, such as the birth of a baby, with a photograph or video. While we support this, we have a duty to ensure that the privacy of other individuals within our hospital is respected.

Our patients or their families may take photos of themselves for personal reasons and for their own personal use only. Before any filming or photography is conducted:

  • Consent and permission for the images to be taken must be given by the senior nurse or matron on duty 
     
  • Consent must also be sought from the patient or individual in the photo or video. Consent can only be obtained if the patient or individual has the capacity to give it. If they do not have the capacity to give consent, then the filming or photography must not be taken
     
  • It is not permitted for any patient, carer, or visitor to film or photograph our staff or any part of the premises without written consent
     
  • Patients, carers, and visitors found to be breaching this policy could be asked to leave the premises, which may result in police intervention and/or legal proceedings

You can read our full policy, alternatively, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service for more information by calling 01279 827211 or email paht.pals@nhs.net. 
 

NHS Wi-Fi

We offer a free NHS Wi-Fi service to all patients, visitors and guests at The Princess Alexandra main site in Harlow.

Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.