Covid-19 visiting restrictions

Protecting our patients and those who care for them is our top priority during.

We encourage safe, Covid secure visiting at Bexhill Irvine Unit, Conquest Hospital, Eastbourne DGH, Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital. All inpatient visiting must be prearranged and is at the discretion of the nurse in charge. Visiting may be restricted in certain circumstances.

Contact the ward directly to book a visit and for up-to-date information. Tel: 0300 131 4500 and ask for the ward you wish to visit or go to Visiting restrictions at Conquest Hospital page or Visiting restrictions at Eastbourne DGH page where some individual ward direct dial numbers are available.

Please note

All of our covid secure measures remain in place and have not changed when government guidance changed. Please continue to follow the guidance on this page.

Face masks

  • All visitors must always wear a surgical face mask (supplied at entrances), when they come into one of our hospitals, clinics or community facilities
  • All patients are required to wear a surgical face mask

General information

All visitors must be Covid-19 symptom free and not be self-isolating.

All visitors need to adhere to Hands, Face, Space. Please wear a face covering for the duration of their visit, make sure you regularly wash your hands and keep your distance and follow the signs. Please also remember:

  • You should not come into hospital if you have Covid-19 symptoms or any health concerns
  • If you are in an at-risk group (anyone over 70, who has an underlying health condition, is pregnant or shielding) you are advised not to visit
  • Please enter and leave through the main hospital entrance only
  • Please bring as few bags, coats and other loose belongings with you as possible
  • You may be asked to leave the ward during your visit. This may be because your relative or another patient requires treatment or if an emergency occurs
  • Should the person you are visiting test positive for Covid-19 within 48 hours after your visit you will be considered by Test and Trace as a contact and required to isolate for 14 days.

We recommend that you use digital services such as Facetime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp to stay in touch with loved ones during their hospital stay, to minimise the risk of spreading or contracting the virus. We have tablets (with Zoom available) on our wards for use by patients who do not have a smartphone or other mobile device.

Lateral Flow Testing

We would strongly encourage visitors undertake a lateral flow test no more than 72 hours prior to each visit which shows a negative Covid-19 test result. Please see link below on how to get a lateral flow test kit.

Please follow the link to the lateral flow instructions which is also available different languages, easy read and large print:

Visiting inpatients on our wards

Visiting is welcomed in inpatient settings, in a very careful and Covid-secure way. In general this means:

  • one visitor is allowed per day, for one hour. This does not need to be the same person each day but must be a person agreed by the patient and who is symptom free of Covid-19
  • regular visitors are encouraged to do a lateral flow test prior to visiting. These can be obtained from your local library, pharmacy or via the Gov.UK website
  • all visiting must be pre-booked in advance with the ward
  • Visiting allowed between 10am to 7pm
  • Certain wards may have vulnerable patients within, visiting will be at the discretion of the nurse in charge

Visiting patients at the end of their life or patients prior to ventilation

We support compassionate visiting for those receiving end of life care and patients prior to ventilation. In general this means:

  • In this instance please confirm with the nurse in charge as you may be asked to wear a different face mask
  • One visitor is permitted at a time, unless they need assistance
  • All visiting must be pre-booked in advance with the ward

Accompanying people visiting Diagnostic, Outpatients and Emergency Departments

  • Where possible, to allow for adequate social distancing in waiting areas, we encourage patients to visit alone
  • If necessary, patients may be accompanied, to help support with care requirements, mental health issues, dementia, a learning disability or autism

Supporting children

  • One parent/guardian at a time to be with the child as agreed with ward staff unless there are custody arrangements in place or a specific court order/schedule


Please see the latest information on our Maternity pages – Maternity

Supporting patients in hospital

It’s never easy to be in hospital, but it is particularly challenging at the moment as visiting is restricted to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

There are many ways that you can stay in touch or support people in hospital:

  • Send a card or a letter by post – we welcome cards and letters in the post, but please makes sure that they’re properly addressed with the name of the patient, the ward they are staying on and the hospital they are in.
  • Send a virtual message – via our virtual message post box you can send messages, photos etc that will be printed out by wards and given to patients
  • Where we can, we encourage and support virtual visiting using a patient’s own device or in some cases we have tablets on the ward and can support conversations with family members via Zoom
  •  Chaplaincy and Pastoral Support – You can contact Chaplaincy and Pastoral Support to request visits for patients or relatives. Please call the Duty Chaplain on 07972 242753 (24/7) or call Switchboard and ask them to contact the Duty Chaplain.
  • Contact Conquest Hospital Radio or Radio DGH (Eastbourne) to give messages of support to loved ones in hospital.
  • There are a number of ways to donate to support us: East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust Charitable Funds, Friends of Bexhill Hospital, Friends of Conquest Hospital, Friends of Eastbourne Hospital and Friends of Rye Hospital

Do not visit if you show symptoms of coronavirus

Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent.

Virtual visiting to keep patients connected

Patients in hospitals in East Sussex can  video call their loved ones. Tablets are available for use by patients who don’t have their own device for making and receiving calls and are being used at Conquest Hospital, Eastbourne DGH, Bexhill Hospital, Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital and Firwood House. Family members will need to have zoom accounts set up and will need to provide their meeting ID and password to allow a meeting to be arranged. Visits can be arranged by emailing