Hospital ignores national policy to allow loved ones to be with dying relatives

A hospital has become the first to adapt national policy around allowing loved ones to be with their dying relatives, after an emotional plea from a nurse.

Royal University Hospital Bath had previously stopped the majority of visits from relatives as it looked to minimise the spread of the virus, especially to elderly and terminally ill patients.

The policy was in line with hospital trusts across Britain.

But the hospital announced in a statement that after reassessing the situation and national guidelines, it had decided to alter the rules to accommodate “end of life patients”.

“Across the NHS, visiting hospital trusts has been suspended except in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care,” the statement said.

“After careful consideration, we believe that we can, in some situations, safely support end of life visits for those with Covid-19, or awaiting test results.”

A nurse who has worked at the hospital for a number of years had written a post online calling the national decision to ban visits to terminally ill coronavirus patients a “grave injustice” and “cruel beyond belief”.

While the hospital denied knowledge of the post, Dr Bernie Marden, the medical director, said: “We are very pleased we have been able to change our position on this. It is very important to us that we support patients and their loved ones at these most difficult moments.”

Mark Purcell, a spokesman for RUHB added: “We’re following national guidelines. And I think most hospitals are doing exactly the same too … to protect the patients, which is the number one priority, but to also protect the people coming into the hospital.”

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