Hospital visits limited to one person per patient

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Visitors were met with this sign at Canberra Hospital today (march 19).

IN a response to the coronavirus, a number of hospital restrictions have been put in place at key sites, with one measure limiting patient visits to one visitor per patient a day. 

Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith announced the measures, which will be put in place at Canberra Hospital, University of Canberra Hospital and Calvary Public Hospital, today (March 19) saying it will help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“Every single one of us has a role to play in this. If you are unwell, please do not visit our hospitals. We are also asking patients to limit visitors to one person per day,” Ms Stephen-Smith says.

“If you have an appointment at an outpatient clinic, please do not bring anyone unless absolutely necessary and if this is the case please limit it to one person.

“This is a difficult ask. We know that patients need the love and support of family and friends when undergoing treatment or in a hospital, and this policy will be applied with compassion and common sense. For example, children who are well will still be able to visit a parent or sibling accompanied by an adult.

“Decisions like this are not taken lightly. I hope all Canberrans can understand that this decision has been made to ensure the safety of staff and patients across our health system.

“Our top priority is reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 in the ACT. We need to ensure that those who are sick are not put at further risk. We also need to keep our health services staff safe and well so they can continue to provide healthcare to our community.”

Dr Sanjaya Senanayake, the Canberra Health Services senior specialist of infectious diseases says: “By restricting visitors to our hospital campus, we are trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst staff, patients, their friends and relatives, thereby protecting the people within our hospitals and in the wider community.”

Private hospitals including National Capital Private Hospital are also introducing restrictions.

The services will be reviewing these changes in coming days with the view to implementing more restrictions should they be required to keep patients and staff safe.

For more information on COVID-19 in the ACT health.act.gov.au

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