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Update to Visiting Guidance

1st March 2021

Updated regional visiting guidance

The Department of Health has confirmed changes to visiting arrangements for all care settings from Monday 1 March.

The four UK Chief Medical Officers have recommended that the Regional Alert Level should move back from Level 5 to Level 4 with immediate effect. As a result, the visiting restrictions for all care settings across Northern Ireland as detailed in the visiting guidance will revert to those applying at Level 4.

Belfast Trust visiting arrangements will continue to follow the Regional Principles of Visiting Guidelines. Virtual visiting remains the preferred option as this reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19.

From Monday 1 March:

  • All Health and Social Care Trust facilities in Northern Ireland should now move to facilitate at least one face-to-face visit per week by one person.
  • In maternity services – one partner will be able to accompany the pregnant woman to dating scan, anomaly scan, early pregnancy clinic, fetal medicine appointments and when the woman is in active labour (to be defined by midwife). Visits in antenatal and postnatal wards will be for one person for up to one hour once a week.
  • Neonatal unit – One of two nominated parents/caregivers can be accommodated at any given time. Two nominated parents/caregivers can be accommodated at any given time.
  • Paediatrics – Any child admitted can be accompanied by one of two nominated parents/caregivers at any given time for the duration of the stay.
  • Care homes that do not have a current outbreak should facilitate a variety of visiting arrangements, including in indoor settings where possible, to enable meaningful contact between residents and their loved ones. Care homes that haven’t already implemented arrangements for care partners are encouraged to do so.

The guidance is subject to local risk assessment. It will be kept under constant review and revised as appropriate.

The guidance is available on the Department of Health’s website.