A Deputy is pushing to reverse the “blanket ban” on visitors to the hospital put in place after individuals with covid infected patients, abused staff and refused to follow safety rules.
Deputy Montfort Tadier says that he has been contacted by numerous “distraught relatives” since the visitor ban was put in place last Thursday.
It applies across all adult health and mental health wards, but excludes those receiving end of life care, and patients in the Maternity and Special Care Baby Unit.
At the time, the Health Minister said the measures would be in place “for at least a week”.
But Deputy Montfort Tadier says the move is disproportionate, and has called for a vote on whether the rules should be changed to allow anyone who does not have covid-19 to be able to visit hospital.
He is also arguing that the Health Minister should put in place a “robust system to keep people who do have covid-19 from visiting people in hospital”.
The announcement that “most visits” to hospital are being banned due to #COVID should alarm us all. Some have very vulnerable loved-ones who will feel very isolated and lonely. This is barbaric. Prisoners are treated better. Why not make LF test compulsory for visits. #JerseyCI— ???????? Montfort Tadier???????? (@DeputyTadier) January 12, 2022
In a report outlining his proposition, Deputy Tadier shared the story of one individual whose parent was recently diagnosed with cancer. They recalled the agony of not being next to their parent as they watched them “break down in tears” over an iPad call.
Another individual said they feared that the “lack of family contact” at a “critical” time for their “fragile” parent could be “having a detrimental impact on [their] chances of recovery.”
They also pointed out that, previously, there was a requirement to do a lateral flow test before visiting, but that “this was never checked.”
Arguing that the majority of the island’s population do not have covid and that there is “no legitimate reason to keep a person out of hospital who does not have covid” and therefore cannot spread it, Deputy Tadier added: “It is important to state that this is not about pitting staff and patient safety against patient and visitor welfare, mental health, and human rights. Indeed, the staff should never have been put in the position where they have been left vulnerable to visitors coming in and potentially contributing to the spread of the illness on the wards.
“I have recent experience of the pressure that staff at the hospital are under. I also know that they strive to give excellent service, but this is difficult when, I understand, there are staff shortages, resource, and time issues.”
He continued: “I am, therefore, asking the Minister for Health and Social Services, and the Council of Ministers, to introduce a robust system of checks for visitors coming into the hospital and to reinstate visits for named visitors, who have been tested and who are known to have a recent lateral flow test which has come back negative. The Minister should give consideration as to the best way to do this, however, the people I have spoken to, who have relatives in hospital, have said they would be very happy to take a lateral flow test before each visit in the presence of a member of government staff who could oversee the test and verify the result before granting access to the hospital.
“This is just one method which seems to me to be both workable and proportionate, as a short-term security measure, but the Minister may have other ideas, which still allow visits to take place, safely.”
The matter is expected to be considered for urgent debate at tomorrow’s States Assembly meeting.
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