Northamptonshire hospital chief: "Less restricted visiting is coming in the next few weeks"
Deborah Needham also addressed restarting more operations and out patient care appointments
The chief of Northamptonshire's hospitals has spoken about plans to relax visiting restrictions and restart more non-urgent care appointments.
Speaking at the weekly press briefing, Deborah Needham, CEO of Kettering General Hospital but acting for Northampton General Hospital too, confirmed that there are 60 Covid-positive patients across both hospitals today (March 19), with five in intensive care.
A decrease in Covid-positive patients was 'welcome news' to the boss who went on to discuss the visiting restrictions in place at both hospitals.
Ms Needham said: "Earlier on in the pandemic we took quite a difficult position across both organisations to restrict visiting.
"That was in line with national guidance and I appreciate this has been really difficult for patients and their loved ones, but it has kept out patients and our staff safe and it has reduced the chances of somebody bringing in the virus to our hospitals.
"We still need to maintain safety but we are now reviewing Government guidance and I'm very much looking forward to a less restricted visiting plan in the next few weeks."
According to the hospital chief, there will be 'more to come' on visiting restrictions 'over the next few weeks'.
Ms Needham also went onto address outpatients and operations and how the recovery from the backlog will be slow.
She added: "We had paused quite a lot, but we are not starting to undertake some more of our routine activity.
"What is important here is to let the public know that recovery will be slow. We have to restart slowly to make sure the patients that we treat are safe and that we are doing this safely.
"My take home message here in routine activity is that it is going to take a significant amount of time to recover and reduce our waiting times back to the national targets."
The hospital CEO also urged members of the public not to 'let their guards down too soon' as this would inevitably lead to increased hospital admissions and deaths.
She also encouraged people to take up the offer of a vaccine and praised those who already have.
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