Visiting times at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital will become far more flexible following the launch of a new trial.
The initiative, which started yesterday, has seen visiting times changed so that people can see their loved ones between 10.30am and 8.30pm seven-days-a-week.
Managers say the move will make it easier for the hospital to communicate with family and friends and offer greater involvement in the care of anyone who is hospitalised.
It will also help to reduce the anxiety of patients, as they will have as much support on the wards as they need throughout the day from their loved ones.
Catherine Morgan, the hospital’s director of nursing, said: “We want to make sure patients in our care, and their families, feel as comfortable and supported as possible.
“We feel that visiting times should be inclusive and strongly believe this flexibility will help to develop a culture of openness throughout the trust.
“We will be listening to the feedback of patients and their visitors, and continue with the longer opening hours if it is the right thing to do based on what we are told.”
The QEH believes that the new hours will also support staff working on the wards.
There will be fewer telephone calls asking for information and the new opening hours should mean more people will be able to visit in person.
It will also enable better patient discharge planning as the family and friends will be on hand to answer questions and make sure that the appropriate care will be available when the patient returns home.
The hospital appeared to be under increasing pressure on Sunday afternoon when a long queue of ambulances was seen outside the premises.
Interim chief operating officer Patricia Dunmore, confirmed there had been “significant pressure”, but added: “Thanks to the hard work of our team, safe patient care was our first priority at all times.”
Meanwhile, almost 100 procedures have been cancelled at the hospital ahead of the latest junior doctors’ strike, which is planned to last for 48 hours from 8am tomorrow.However, the hospital says most of those have already been rescheduled.
Chief executive Dorothy Hosein said: “We are doing our best to make sure that, as far as possible, we operate as normally as we can.
“As with previous strikes, we will contact any of our patients that are affected. If you have not heard from us, but have an appointment on a strike day, please attend as normal.”