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Merseyside acute trust rows back on expanded visiting times

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Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has cut-back a previous expansion to its visiting times in order to ensure patients can “enjoy their lunch without distractions”.

Last December, following a successful pilot, the trust expanded its visiting hours from midday to 8.30pm. It replaced a more traditional system normally involving two visiting slots, a couple of hours in the afternoon then again in the evening.

However, it announced this week that visiting times at Southport and Ormskirk hospitals would now run for an hour less, from 1pm to 8.30pm.

The move does not include maternity and neonatal wards, which have their own visiting times.

The trust noted that visitors who come in to assist patients with meals “are still welcome from midday, they are just asked to identify themselves to a member of staff on arrival”.

Carol Fowler, the trust’s acting deputy director of nursing, said: “We extended our visiting times last year, as we recognised the importance of visitors in aiding patients’ recovery.

“Nutritious meals also play a large part in recovery and we’ve noticed some patients becoming distracted at lunchtime and their food was cold by the time they came to eat it, or they weren’t eating at all,” she said.

“We hope by adjusting the visiting start time slightly, our patients will see the benefit,” she added.

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