HEALTH services are continuing to buckle under the strain of coronavirus with Colchester Hospital now banning all but essential visitors.

Those wanting to see loved ones at the Turner Road site are all basically banned in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The East Suffolk and North East Essex Trust had already cut down on visiting hours but have now made the regulations even more stringent.

Nick Hulme, chief executive at the trust, said: “Today we are announcing more changes to our visiting arrangements on all our hospital sites.

“Sadly, in line with the national guidance from the government on social distancing and social isolation, visiting is suspended.

“The only exceptional circumstances where one visitor - an immediate family member or carer - can visit is when:

  • the patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care.
  • you are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour.
  • you are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.

“Our primary concern is to keep our patients and our staff safe.

“Thank to you everyone in our communities for their continuing support at this very difficult time.”

This guidance covers Colchester Hospital and the trust’s sites in Suffolk.

The trust has already confirmed they have had two patients - both in their eighties and with underlying health conditions - die after contracting coronavirus.

Latest figures show there are 112 cases of coronavirus in Essex.

The newest figures show a jump of nine from Tuesday when the Department of Health confirmed that the total stood at 103.

These include 88 in Essex County Council district, along with a further 15 in Thurrock and nine in Southend.


Retired ambulance staff are being encouraged to reapply for new posts as the ambulance service tries to cope with the unprecedented level of demand.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is asking former paramedics, ambulance technicians and call handlers to consider returning to help while demand increases and existing staff are forced into self isolation.

Former doctors and nurses are also being asked to return in a bid to help ease the pressure.

Anyone interested should email

Across the country, student paramedics who are close to qualifying have been fast tracked into roles to supplement staff.

Chief operating officer for the trust Marcus Bailey said his teams have received magnificent support from the public.

“We would like to thank the public for the wonderful support our crews are getting at this difficult time,” he said.

“We’ve seen many stories around the region of notes of appreciation and even small gifts being left on ambulance windscreens.

“National and local businesses are also doing a great job in supporting our staff.

“We’re working incredibly hard to care for people and keep them safe and we’re asking the public for their continued help and support.

“Everyone can help reduce pressure on the NHS by taking extra care of themselves and observing advice about hand-washing and social distancing.”

To show our support to the heroes working in the health service, the Gazette and other Newsquest titles are joining together to raise money for NHS Charities Together and their urgent Covid-19 appeal.

We want you to share the #ThankYouNHS message on social media and send us a picture of yourself holding up a piece of paper reading #ThankYouNHS some of which we will print in the paper via or @TheGazette on Twitter.

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£1,500 has already been raised with more money coming in all the time.