The chief nurse of the trust that runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital has explained the difficult decision made to ask visitors to stay away.

Jo Bennis is the chief nurse at the North West Anglia NHS Foundation TrustJo Bennis is the chief nurse at the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust

The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hinchingbrooke, Peterborough City and Stamford and Rutland hospitals announced restrictions on visiting as the coronavirus situation worsened and the Government’s lock-down measures were introduced.

Chief nurse Jo Bennis said: “To protect our patients and staff from the rapidly-developing spread of coronavirus

(COVID-19), we have made the difficult decision to stop families visiting patients.”

There are some exceptions, however, and the hospital has said it will permit families to visit in some cases.

“Visitors are permitted to see end-of-life patients, one parent/carer with paediatric patients, and one birthing partner for women visiting our Delivery Suite.

“We appreciate that this may be upsetting for families and patients, but it is important we minimise the spread of infection as much as possible.”

Measures have also been put in place to allow patients to use technology to speak to their families.

“Patients will still be able to contact relatives using a phone or tablet and we have free public WIFI available to

facilitate video calls,” explained Jo.

“More information can be found on our website: www.nwangliaft.nhs.uk/aboutus/trust-news/updated-visiting/ and I would like to personally thank everyone for their understanding. “Everyone has a role to play in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus and I urge members of the public to follow the government advice and stay at home.”

INFO: If you have a new persistent cough or high temperature, it is especially important that you self-isolate at home for seven days. If someone in your home is displaying symptoms, you will also need to isolate for 14 days.”

Caroline Walker, chief executive, for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, confirmed today (Wednesday) that nine patients had now died across the Trust from coronavirus

She said: “I can confirm that sadly, nine patients being cared for in our Trust have passed away. Six at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and three at Peterborough City Hospital. All patients were over the age of 70 and had pre-existing health conditions. They had all tested positive for COVID-19.

“Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones at this difficult time.”