Visiting restrictions during the Coronavirus outbreak

Visitors limited to essential visitors only

Protecting our patients and those who care for them is our top priority during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Because of the rise in Covid-19 cases in the local community we have now taken the difficult decision to further restrict visiting. This will be kept under constant review as we head towards Christmas.

From Friday 11 December 2020, essential visitors only will be allowed at Bexhill Irvine Unit, Conquest Hospital, Eastbourne DGH, Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital. This means:

  • Patients receiving end of life care – one visitor permitted at a time, unless assisting another. This must be arranged in advance
  • Patients prior to needing ventilation – one visitor permitted for max of one hour. This must be arranged in advance
  • Children’s Services – one parent/carer to be with the child as agreed with ward staff
  • Patients requiring individual carer supportidentified carers will be permitted to support those with care requirements and a visitor will be permitted to support patients with a mental health issue, for example dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
  • Maternity – Women in labour can be accompanied by one asymptomatic birth partner throughout their time on the labour ward. The same birth partner can visit for one hour on the antenatal or postnatal ward. The birth partner must be from the same household/bubble as the woman – See the Maternity page for more information.
  • Outpatients Departments – due to social distancing in the outpatient waiting rooms it will not be possible to allow an accompanying person, unless the patient requires assistance or is a child
  • Emergency Department – due to social distancing in Emergency Department waiting areas, it is not always possible to allow an accompanying person. We support compassionate visiting for those receiving end of life care and if someone has a full time carer
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided to visitors/carers according to individual circumstances.

All visiting is at the discretion of the nurse in charge. Visiting must be prearranged by calling – Tel: 0300 131 4500 and asking for the ward you wish to visit or go to our wards at Conquest Hospital page or wards at Eastbourne DGH page where some individual ward direct dial numbers are available.

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.

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 devise or in some cases we have tablets on the ward and can support conversations with family members via Zoom
  •  Chaplaincy & Pastoral Support – You can contact Chaplaincy & 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  now 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 esht.patientmailbox@nhs.net.