Visiting guidance – Friday 7 May

6th May 2021

From Friday 7 May 2021, every patient in hospitals across Northern Ireland will be able to benefit from a daily visit with at least one person.

The Trust welcomes the relaxation of restrictions, announced by Health Minister Robin Swann for all healthcare settings, and we will now follow the regional guidance. However, we ask that you will be patient while we introduce controls that ensure congestion in communal/circulation areas does not impact negatively on the safety of patients / visitors / staff.

Visiting is by appointment only. Please contact the Ward Sister/Unit/Department Manager or Deputy to book all appointments. Visiting guidance will be reviewed again in four weeks.

Key principles

  • Patient / residents can nominate a maximum of two people to visit. Following a risk assessment at ward/unit level, one of the two nominated people will be permitted one daily visit throughout the patient’s stay in hospital.
  • Virtual visiting remains available as this reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19.
  • All people visiting / attending Health and Social Care settings will still be required to wear face coverings, (if exceptions apply please let the Ward Sister know it advance).
  • Visitors must comply with all necessary precautions, for example, washing or sanitizing hands on entry to the area and on leaving. Avoiding visits if COVID-19 or other symptoms of infection have developed. Avoiding visits if they have been notified that they have in been contact with a positive COVID-19 case.
  • Visiting and visitor numbers is dependent on the care environment whether bays or single rooms.
  • You may be asked to leave if an emergency situation occurs and/or COVID-19 safety measures cannot be sufficiently maintained, due to congestion or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • A chosen birth partner will be facilitated to accompany a pregnant woman to any pregnancy related appointments and ultrasound scans. This will also include induction, labour and up to three hours after birth. Some controls maybe in place at times to avoid congestion within maternity outpatients and ensure a covid safe environment.
  • Two persons can accompany any child admitted to Children’s wards and the Neonatal Unit, (NNU) for the duration of the child’s/infant’s stay. Due to limited accommodation one parent can stay overnight with their child in the paediatric wards. Two parents are permitted to stay overnight in the NNU
  • To ensure compliance with social distancing visitors should continue to avoid gathering in public spaces, outside ward area or canteens within the Trust.
  • Visiting may be managed through a booking system to ensure that the number of visitors on the premises at any one time can be controlled, in advance of any return to a normal “visiting hours” approach; this will include determining the duration of each of the visits
  • Special local provision can be made for end of life care or other specific circumstances. Please speak to the Ward Sister/Nurse in Charge or Department Manager.
  • The Trust is required to maintain social distancing rules and to provide a COVID safe environment. Unfortunately, as a result visitors accompanying patients attending our Emergency Departments in the Lagan Valley and Ulster Hospitals will not be able to come into the Emergency Departments at this time. Exceptions will include those who are accompanying a vulnerable adult, sick child or patient being managed as end of life care.

Full guidance is available on the Department of Health’s website (