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Visiting people in hospital

Visitors are welcome at our hospitals. We have introduced a visitors' code, making it clearer for visitors what they should do if friends and family are admitted to hospital.

The code outlines ten simple steps, aimed at keeping us all safe and helping patients rest and recover when in hospital. These guidelines have been introduced in response to patient comments, local audit and national initiatives. Please follow this simple code when visiting friends or relatives, to help us make the hospital safer for us all.

Visitors' code

  1. only visit during the allocated times: see here for the visiting times for each hospital, report to ward staff on arrival, and only have two visitors at a patient's bedside at one time.
  2. do not sit on a patient's bed.
  3. do not bring children under the age of 12 to visit, unless the patient is their parent. See below for further information.
  4. always use the disinfectant gel to clean your hands at the entrance to the ward, and at the patient's bedside, or wash them with warm soapy water, before and after you visit. For more information, visit our infection prevention and control pages.
  5. do not bring flowers or plants as gifts for patients. See below for alternative gift suggestions that patients might enjoy.
  6. do not visit if you are unwell or have been exposed to any infection. You must be free of symptoms for at least 48 hours before visiting the hospital.
  7. respect the privacy of other patients.
  8. appreciate that our staff will need to reinforce these rules, and understand the reason for this.
  9. treat our staff with respect and understand that in exceptional circumstances they may have to close an area to visitors (for example, for winter vomiting virus). Please understand that this is to keep everyone safe and we cannot allow visitors at that time. It may also be necessary to ask visitors to leave the bedside on occasions if the nursing or medical staff require it.

We will always try to be flexible in difficult or unusual circumstances. Please speak to the nurse in charge if you have any problems or questions.

You can download a copy of our visitors' code here.

Visiting times

You can view the visiting times for each of our hospitals here.

On many of our wards there are protected meal times. The aim of these is to make sure that patients can enjoy their meals undisturbed and to encourage patients to eat enough food to help with their recovery.

If visitors feel that they have a valid reason to visit outside of normal visiting hours then they should discuss this with the nurse in charge, giving prior notice whenever possible. For example, if a relative or carer is assisting a patient with their meal, then they will normally be welcome to stay.

Bringing children to visit

Children under the age of 12 will be discouraged from visiting unless they are the child or the grandchild of the patient. When children visit it is recommended their visits are limited to 30 minutes. They must remain under direct supervision from family members at all times. However, it is recognised that children might be in the position of being a young carer for a relative. In these circumstances they may visit unsupervised and stay for the length of normal visiting.

Flowers and gifts

We do not allow flowers on our wards or other clinical areas. This has been introduced in line with other hospitals, and helps play a part in de-cluttering the ward areas and keeping the environment clean and safe for patients.

Patients now spend a much shorter time in hospital, and we ask that visitors and local florists arrange for flowers to be delivered to people's homes to be enjoyed after patients are discharged.

We know that bringing gifts is something that many people like to do, and we know that this can make a patient's stay more pleasant. Here are some suggestions as to what can be brought in, as an alternative to flowers:

  • Books, newspapers and magazines
  • Puzzle and crossword books
  • Gift balloons
  • Hospedia vouchers so that patients can make phone calls or watch TV
  • Hand-held gaming devices (Nintendo DS)
  • Portable DVD player

Present Issue is a company that can send single issues of magazines to people in hospital. They are delivered direct to the ward, and do not involve taking out a subscription. You can find out more information from their website


Please do not arrange for food to be delivered to friends or relatives in hospital, such deliveries cannot be accepted.


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