Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The use of face coverings when coming to hospital at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT)

People infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures at EPUT to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.

From Monday, 15 June 2020 you will need to wear a face covering when you come to any of our hospitals, clinics or offices as a visitor or outpatient.

What does this mean for me?

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our hospitals and clinics safe. If you are coming to any of our hospitals, clinics or offices as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to our hospital, clinic or office location, please see a member of staff on arrival and we will provide you with one.

If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.

For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival.

If you are a deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include the use of clear masks where possible, as well as visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.

All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the hospital setting.

Where do I go for more information?

If you have further questions regarding the changes we have made across the Trust, please contact our PALS team on Tel: 0800 0857935 or by Email: epunft.pals@nhs.net

Important information about coronavirus (COVID-19)

The latest information about COVID-19 is available from the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

Advice for people at high risk

If you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it.

These include:

  • not leaving your home – you should not go out to do shopping, visit friends or family, or attend any gatherings
  • avoiding close contact with other people in your home as much as possible

Read the full advice on protecting yourself if you’re at high risk from coronavirus on GOV.UK.

Who is at high risk?

You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

Visiting on our wards

Visiting on our wards has been suspended until further notice.

There are however exceptional circumstances where one visitor (an immediate family member of carer) will be permitted to visit:

  • The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care
  • You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child

If your visit meets one of the circumstances outlined above, please contact the ward in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements.

Please find other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones while they are on one of our wards such as phone and video calls.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging time.