"YOU are not a burden" — this is the message from St Mary's Hospital to patients as it prepares for the country's second lockdown period.

The hospital has issued a statement to reassure people the hospital is open for Island care and treatments, following the government’s announcement of a second lockdown from Thursday, November 5, until Wednesday, December 2.

NHS Trusts across England will be continuing their services as they did over the summer, facilitating social distancing throughout hospitals and continuing strict infection control measures.

As part of the lockdown coming into force on Thursday, the trust is reviewing its policy regarding visitors and accompanied scans and will provide an update soon.

Until then, St Mary’s and other sites will welcome visitors as usual today, Tuesday 3 November and Wednesday 4 November. The hospital will continue to welcome birthing partners during lockdown.

Steve Parker, IW NHS Trust medical director, said: “Over the past few months, we have taken several steps to ensure staff, patients and visitors to our sites remain safe and have reopened our services to the Island community.

“Alongside caring those who have been experiencing severe coronavirus symptoms, our staff have gone to great lengths to make sure that people who do not have Covid-19 can safely access our services.

“So whether you or a loved one has a routine appointment or a health concern, our message is clear — you are not a burden, our hospital is safe and we are here to care for you.

"So please help us to help you and use our services as you usually would.”

The trust is urging people, that unless they hear otherwise, to continue to use its services.

To ensure St Mary’s can keep its services open, it is vital IW residents follow the government measures by staying at home as much as possible, working from home where they can and remembering hands, face and space when out in public.

Please remember when attending an appointment at St. Mary’s Hospital:

· To follow the social distancing guidelines

· Bring a face covering with you which should be worn at all times

· Wash or sanitise your hands on arrival and when leaving the building

· Arrive no earlier than ten minutes before your appointment time

· Report to Main Outpatients Reception as normal

· Attend unaccompanied unless a chaperone is required

If you or anyone in your household has experienced symptoms of coronavirus in the last 14 days, please do not attend your appointment. If you are unsure please phone the number on your appointment letter.

NHS 111 is also available to ensure people can seek non-urgent medical and mental health support.

The Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it echoed the words of the leader of the council, Cllr Dave Stewart: “The community on the Island all came together during the first lockdown to provide support to those that needed it most and I have absolutely no doubt that we will do so again.

"The most important thing we can do as a community is embrace this opportunity to protect those we love from this horrible disease."