This page provides links to national guidance and information on the changes we are making in our trust to protect our patients, visitors and staff.
From Monday 15 June 2020, anyone attending our hospitals and community settings must wear a face covering at all times to protect patients, visitors and staff.
It follows evidence from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that face coverings could help reduce transmission risk among those suffering from coronavirus but not showing symptoms.
Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit. They are different to face masks in that they can be homemade, made of cloth, and be reusable. See here for details on how to make your own.
We urge you to bring your own face covering, whether bought or home-made, however masks will be available if you do not have one.
Please do not remove it unless advised to do so by a medical professional. Try to ensure you have no gaps in the sides of your face covering and avoid touching it.
Alongside wearing a face covering, people attending a hospital or community setting are asked to:
- Wash their hands often and on entering and leaving the premises, use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available
- Follow social distancing measures
- Adhere to guidance issued regarding attendance and/or visiting
- Come in alone, wherever possible
We’re piloting reintroducing visiting safely to some of our inpatient wards in hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside.
Working with relatives, we’re putting in place an appointment system to enable people to visit loved ones on wards at Alnwick Infirmary, Berwick Infirmary, Blyth Community Hospital, Haltwhistle War Memorial Hospital and medicine, care of the elderly and mental health wards at Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside general hospitals.
The relatives of patients in these pilot areas will be contacted to make arrangements to visit if they wish. If anyone has any questions about the pilot, or are unsure whether the ward on which their loved one is staying is part of it, they should contact the ward directly.
Reintroducing visiting at The Northumbria hospital and surgical wards, day units, endoscopy, x-ray and oncology areas at general hospitals are currently NOT included in the pilot. However, a review is ongoing and we aim to expand it to more inpatient areas in due course should it prove safe and workable.
We suspended visiting in mid-March to protect our patients and staff and help reduce the spread of coronavirus except in the following circumstances which remain unchanged:
- For patients who are receiving end-of-life care (this will be restricted to only one relative or nominated next of kin. If this person is frail or infirm they can be supported by another)
- For birthing partners in maternity units
- For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit
- At the discretion of the nurse in charge for long-stay patients and those with dementia
For more info on this, see here.
Keeping in touch
Friends and relatives will be able to stay connected to their loved ones in hospital by ringing our patient phone line, on 0191 293 4306, available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
In addition, our patients can make unlimited phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles free of charge via our bedside units to help stay in touch with loved ones.
Non-urgent appointments and operations
We are contacting our patients with non-urgent planned operations and routine outpatient appointments to let them know their appointment is postponed. Emergency admissions, cancer treatment and other urgent clinical care will remain unaffected and continue to go ahead.
We are contacting patients directly – there is no need to call us.
Maternity care during the coronavirus outbreak
We are continuing to do all we can to support pregnant women as this time and have set up a COVID maternity helpline on 07823 907484.
This is for pregnant women who are booked to deliver with us.
The line is open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday and we will answer questions relating to pregnancy, care and visiting.
For clinical advice, women should continue to contact the hospital where they are due to deliver.
Find out more information here.
From Wednesday 1 April, there will now be dedicated chaplaincy telephone lines for our patients to phone a chaplain from their mobile or their bedside phone in hospital.
A chaplain will aim to receive calls and check for messages between 10:30am and 2pm. Please contact the chaplaincy service on either 01670 529690 or 0191 2934268.
We are complying with social distancing restrictions by having ‘takeaway only’ in our Hospital Volunteer Service shops. Our canteens are closed to all members of the public however remain open for our staff. We have marked the floor in order for everyone to remain 2 metres away from one another, and all food is packed in bags to minimise contact.
We are currently appealing to people who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times to come forward.
We’re calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.
Find out more here.
Information on coronavirus in additional formats and languages.
Public Health England has published:
Easy read guides on:
Guidance in other languages including Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu:
- For households with possible coronavirus
- On social distancing and protecting older people and vulnerable adults
For guidance in British Sign Language (BSL):
Signhealth is producing videos explaining the latest information and health advice in BSL. New videos are being uploaded as information becomes available.
Daily updates from the Government are also available with BSL interpretation at 5pm on BBC 107 or 231 and on BBC iPlayer.
Advice for the parents of deaf children can be found via the National Deaf Children’s Society.
For blind people and people with sight loss:
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) is publishing it’s latest Covid-19 news and guides.
It is essential that everyone keeps good hand hygiene, as it is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others protected against Coronavirus. We have installed handwashing facilities at our hospital entrances and we urge people to use these before entering our buildings.
You should wash your hands when you:
- Get home or into work
- Blow your nose, sneeze or cough
- Eat or handle food
Using the correct technique, for 20 seconds, with soap and water.
For more information, watch the video below: