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Hospital Visit Ban 'Shocking And Upsetting'

Kelly Okoye says her dad (pictured with his grandson) is distressed and upset at not being able to receive visitors.

A Jersey woman whose dad has been in hospital for the last seven weeks says she is shocked and upset by the decision to temporarily ban visits.

The Health Minister says a small number of people who've visited with symptoms, which has led to 'several' inpatients testing positive for the virus, 'led to this regrettable decision being taken'.

It is due to be reviewed next week.

Deputy Montfort Tadier has written to Deputy Richard Renouf to ask for the ban to be rescinded.

He's vowed to lodge an emergency proposition next week if that doesn't happen.

Kelly Okoye says her dad is not coping very well with this decision at all.

"He sends us messages every day saying he's just waiting for someone to come in and see him every day, he just sits there waiting for my mum.

He says my mum is the only thing getting him through and now he can't see her.

It's not fair (to stop visits) on everybody else, everyone who has followed the rules. It's not fair on the patients, it's not fair on their mental health.

There must be others like my dad who are not in a good place right now. He's very very very poorly and he needs my mum and sister, he needs someone to go and see him."

She says, to add to their worries, there have been problems with the hospital wifi, so attempts at video calls have been extremely difficult.

Attempts to visit because of the circumstances of her dad's health have proved unsuccessful.

Deputy Renouf has responded to Deputy Tadier's letter, insisting the decision to temporarily stop most hospital visits 'was necessary in the circumstances and not taken lightly'.

He says officers have been instructed to find a way of allowing visitors back into hospital again next week.

"I and fellow ministers entirely understand and share your concerns about vulnerable patients and we also know visits aid recovery and wellbeing of patients. Indeed we discussed those concerns at some length when Infection Control advice was presented to the Council of Ministers and all of us came very reluctantly to the conclusion that the restriction was needed for this week to keep the hospital running effectively.

However, we urged officers to seek a different solution for next week, perhaps involving booking in visits and a new process for staff to safely monitor the Covid status of visitors.

This might involve staff supervising LFT tests even though that would take staff away from caring duties or might involve HCS employing security personnel or similar. It was already a requirement that visitors should take a test before they visited.

Unfortunately in some cases staff received verbal abuse when they asked visitors about the result of their tests. All ministers found that conduct reprehensible as was the conduct of visitors who attended displaying symptoms of Covid, later to test positive.

There is little doubt those visitors infected patients who were previously testing negative, giving rise to the situation we had to deal with. I hope that gives you assurance that the decision was necessary in the circumstances and not taken lightly."

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