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Southend Hospital in ‘open all hours’ visitor trial

31 July 2014

Health Care

In a trial running throughout August (from Monday 4th) and September, Southend Hospital will have more flexible visitor times on a limited number of wards, which if successful could see extended visiting hours across further wards at the Prittlewell Chase site.

Wards that will be open visiting on a trial basis, from 6am - 9pm, will be Westcliff and Rochford, and those wards that will be open extended hours, from 11am to 8pm, will be Hockley, AMU1 and AMU2, with Blenheim and Balmoral opening from 12 noon - 8pm.

Sue Hardy, director of nursing, said: "Visiting times for most wards are normally 2.30pm - 4.30pm and then 6pm - 8pm. We are trialling the changes to visiting times to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to spend time with patients on a limited number of wards."

Such pilot schemes have proved successful at hospitals elsewhere in the country. Those who had successful trials found that the extended visiting hours gave visitors more convenience, improved communication between hospital staff and allowed them to be more involved in their loved-one's care.

Anne Groome, ward manager of Westcliff and Rochford wards added: "We are really excited to see what the impact will be, the success of the trial will rely on good communication between ward staff and visitors. The only thing that we ask is that visitors are respectful to our nursing staff at all times and considerate to patients by allowing them reasonable time to rest."

Doctors and nurses will need to continue to provide care and treatment during these times, so it may be necessary for visitors to temporarily step out while this is done.

The trial scheme is due to run until the end of September, with a decision on whether to change the visiting times permanently or for the trial to be extended further to made soon after.

Sue Hardy concluded: "Staggering visiting throughout the day is more convenient on site, so there won't be such a high demand for car parking at say 2.30pm. Hopefully there will be advantages for patients, their loved ones and the hospital as a whole, both on the wards and off them, with this pilot scheme."