VISITING guidance will change in ESNEFT hospitals, as Covid cases continue to rise and spread.

Changes to maternity unit visits in East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust hospitals will come into effect tomorrow, Saturday January 8.

The new restrictions will affect Colchester Hospital, Clacton Hospital and Fryatt Hospital, in Harwich.

These come after previouis changes announced that visitors to these hospitals were banned, other than some expections, one of which was maternity.

READ MORE - Hospitals to suspend visiting from tomorrow amid rising Covid cases

However, the changes now state that only one named birthing partner allowed to accompany someone in labour from the point of their admission to the maternity unit.

In addition, visiting to antenatal and postnatal wards at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals will be from 10.30am to 6.30pm every day for one named visitor, which should be the birthing partner.

Outside of labour, someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 cannot have a visitor on antenatal and postnatal wards.

ESNEFT bosses have said the decision is a “very difficult one” but will remain “under close and regular review”.

Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at ESNEFT Giles Thorpe said: "

“COVID-19 is also having a significant impact on staffing in maternity and making these changes will mean we can continue to provide high quality, safe care to pregnant people and their babies.

“This isn’t what we want to do, but it is what have to do so we can continue to keep everyone safe in our hospitals.

“We will be keeping this situation under close and regular review, and we will ease the restrictions as quickly and as safely as possible, however, we can’t rule out that further restrictions may be needed if infections and hospital admissions continue to rise.

“The situation we are facing reiterates the importance of getting vaccinated against the virus and I would urge anyone who is expecting a baby, or planning to have a baby, to take up the offer of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is the best way to prevent you from becoming seriously unwell and needing hospital treatment and it will help to keep you and your baby safe during your pregnancy.”

Detailed guidance for attending maternity appointments and visits is available on the ESNEFT website.