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Visiting reduced and mask wearing reintroduced: Thursday 29 December 2022

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Visiting reduced and mask wearing reintroduced at NGH and KGH as COVID and flu infections increase

From tomorrow (Thursday 29 December 2022) both Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals are reducing visiting for adult inpatient wards and are asking patients and any visitors to the hospital to wear a mask, due to a significant increase in COVID, flu, RSV and norovirus infections.

These measures aim to reduce infection risk to vulnerable patients, prevent the spread of infections and help to prevent staff absences.

Visiting will be reduced to compassionate visiting only for adult wards. Both hospitals will be offering increased virtual visiting to support patients to keep in touch with loved ones. Maternity, paediatrics and patients who need compassionate visiting will not be affected and will continue with their current policies. Compassionate visiting can be discussed on an individual basis with the ward team.

Patients and visitors will all be asked to wear masks when in the hospital to help to protect them and others from the risk of infection. Masks will be available for those who need them, but we would please ask people to bring their own where possible.

This guidance will be reviewed continuously, and the hospital will provide regular updates via their website and in local media.

We are also urging local people to have their COVID and flu vaccinations to help to prevent serious illness this winter. We are seeing increased numbers of people in hospital with COVID and flu. Some patients have both COVID and flu together and are seriously ill.

In September COVID infections had dropped to as-low-as 16 beds occupied across the two hospitals.

But now (December 28) that combined figure has risen to 120 beds occupied with COVID across the two hospitals. In addition to this we also have additional pressure from flu cases. Across the two hospitals there are currently more than 70 beds taken up with flu. 

Northampton and Kettering General Hospital’s Chief Operating Officers, Palmer Winstanley and Fay Gordon, in a joint statement said:

“The UK is now experiencing a significant spike in winter illnesses including COVID, flu, RSV and norovirus. The current variants are very infectious, and we are seeing numbers rise in both hospitals with some patients being very unwell.

“As a result, we are suspending visiting on adult inpatient wards and are asking all patients and visitors to wear masks when coming to the hospital. This will help us to prevent the spread of infection and keep our vulnerable patients safe from these winter illnesses. As well as this we would ask anyone needing to come to the hospital to wash or gel their hands to support good hand hygiene.

“We are also urging people to have their COVID and flu vaccinations. We are seeing patients who are being hospitalised with both flu and COVID and a number of these patients are seriously unwell and unvaccinated.

“Throughout the pandemic we have been very impressed by the way our local community has supported our hospitals and followed our infection control arrangements. We would once again like to ask for their support with these restrictions. It is not a decision we take lightly, and we hope people understand why we are reintroducing these measures for the safety of our patients”.

Other actions local people can take to support their hospitals at this difficult time include:

  • Please continue to wash your hands regularly before, during, and after, attending hospital and follow staff instructions relevant to the area being attended.
  • Do not attend the hospital as a visitor or for routine appointments if you are unwell with symptoms of COVID, flu, norovirus
  • Only going to A&E where this is absolutely necessary and using alternatives such as GP telephone appointments, pharmacies, Corby Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111.
  • Don’t unnecessarily accompany someone to hospital unless your presence is vital for their safety. We have limited socially distanced waiting facilities and cannot allow these to become unnecessarily crowded
  • Please attend your appointments on time – but not too much before time. If you arrive too early you will be making waiting areas more crowded than they need to be.
Posted on Wednesday 28th December 2022