TIGHTER restrictions on visitors have been announced at St Mary’s Hospital.

Following last week's announcement that visitors were no longer permitted on certain wards, 'enhanced' restrictions are now in place across all wards.

The only exceptions are that one family member is permitted to visit a patient nearing end of life, a child who is an inpatient on the Children’s Ward or if they are a birthing partner to someone on the Labour Ward.

A statement said: "The decision to restrict visiting across the site is not one we have taken lightly but due to the continuing rise in Covid-19 patients being treated at the hospital, we must put the safety of our patients and staff first.

"Visiting for the above exceptions should be agreed with the appropriate Ward Sister and proof of a negative lateral flow test will be expected.

"Because we understand how important it is for the welfare of our patients to stay connected with friends and family whilst in hospital, we are continuing to offer our message to a loved one service.

"To use this service, send a message to our Patient Experience Team at: iownt.message-to-loved-ones@nhs.net who will make sure your message reaches them.

"If you are attending the hospital for an outpatient appointment, then you are reminded to attend alone unless in exceptional circumstances, in which case one carer is permitted.

"Our friendly marshals remain at the front entrances to ensure the reason for your visit is valid, and will request to see your appointment letter.

"On entry to our buildings, you are required to wear a face covering and continue to adhere to social distancing and use the hand sanitiser provided.

"If you arrive early, then please wait outside until it is time for your appointment. If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, then you are required to wear a face visor as an alternative.

"Our visiting policy remains under continuous review. As soon as we feel it is safe to relax measures once more, we will look forward to welcoming visitors back to the hospital.

"In the meantime, we ask people for their understanding and support as we continue to take all necessary precautions to keep everybody safe."