Hywel Dda Health Board has announced easing of hospital visiting restrictions.

Visitors can now attend the hospital to see patients on a limited basis with prior agreement with hospital staff.

The changes mean that a pre-booked visit by one member of the same household can now be supported, provided the visit has a clear purpose and is in the best interest of the patient.

A visit will be arranged following discussion between the patients and the ward sister and visiting will be in line with the following Welsh Government Guidance, ‘Visiting with a Purpose’:

•End of life – last days of life

•Carer –you are the carer or the nominated representative

•Learning disabilities (LD) –a patient with learning disabilities may need you as their carer/ next of kin to share information about their individual needs and virtual visiting may not be appropriate.

•Other – for example where it is felt a visit from you may help the patient with rehabilitation, understanding of care/ condition, help with dietary concerns. The ward sister may agree visiting outside of this guidance in certain circumstances.

Mandy Rayani, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience said: “Your diligence and awareness of the need to keep loved ones safe in hospital has been key in our efforts to fight the virus.

“I am pleased to announce that, thanks to these efforts, and the very low prevalence of Covid-19 in our hospitals, we are now in a position where we are able to start gradually relaxing some of these restrictions where circumstances and national guidelines allow it.

“We know that visitors are essential to the wellbeing of our patients, and wherever we can, we will support you to be with your loved one.

"We are committed to avoiding the spread of the virus within our hospitals and keeping our patients, family, carers and staff as safe as possible.

“This does mean that for the time being, we need to ensure that we continue to exercise caution, and I want to stress that this is not a full return to normality.

"We understand that some visitors may feel disappointed if you aren’t able to attend in person, but I want to assure you that the measures we are putting in place are safe, proportionate and responsible and we look forward to gradually easing further restrictions as circumstances allow.”

Visitors who do not meet this criteria will be asked to use a virtual visiting option instead which is available within the hospital, such as using a tablet or mobile phone.

Family Liaison Officers will be available on wards to support access to virtual visiting.