South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has relaxed its face mask rules for outpatients and visitors from today (Monday 13 June) with only a few exceptions.
Following national guidance from NHS England and Improvement, and in light of the continued low numbers of COVID-19 in its hospitals and in the community, visitors to the trust’s hospitals and healthcare services are no longer required to wear a face covering unless they are attending a high-risk area or visiting a patient who is immunocompromised or has suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
This updated guidance applies to all trust sites including: The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and community services at Redcar, East Cleveland, Guisborough and Friary hospitals.
High risk areas where face masks will still be required include:
- Emergency department
- Admissions units
- Urgent treatment centres
- Critical care
- COVID wards
- Wards 4, 14 and 33 at James Cook (and associated day areas)
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy
- Dialysis units
- Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre
Right time to make changes
Sharon Lance, deputy director of infection prevention and control said: “Thank you for helping us to keep everyone safe over the past two and a half years by wearing face coverings when visiting our hospitals and healthcare services.
“Our experienced clinicians have carefully reviewed our infection prevention and control guidance and have agreed now is the right time to start to relax our face mask rules in some areas including all non-clinical areas such as corridors, offices, shops and restaurants.
“If you would prefer to continue wearing a mask you will, of course, still be supported to do so.
“What we do ask of everyone is that you still continue to regularly wash or gel your hands when entering and leaving our healthcare sites and hospital wards.”
The trust is continuing to regularly review its ward visiting guidance. Currently up to two people are able to visit a non-COVID patient at the same time for up to one hour a day on an appointment basis between 10am and 8pm.
For more details visit southtees.nhs.uk/coronavirus/