The decision was made after an internal critical incident was declared at the hospital yesterday (Tuesday, January 4) due to "operational challenges across the organisation".
These included Blackpool Victoria Hospital running at "full capacity", long waits in A&E and "high staff sickness absence levels of above 10 per cent." You can read our full report on the 'critical incident' and what it means for the hospital here.
The hospital trust said more patients are being admitted with Covid each day than are being discharged, and this has forced the trust to suspend visiting arrangements to prevent the virus spreading further among staff and patients.
A hospital spokesman said: "Due to rising levels of coronavirus infections in the community, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has taken the difficult decision to suspend most visiting until further notice.
"This decision was not taken lightly and has been made to keep all staff and patients safe across the Trust and help play an important role in limiting further spread of Covid-19."
The temporary suspension has come into force immediately and will remain in place until further notice, said the hospital trust.
Blackpool Vic is the latest hospital in Lancashire to suspend visiting, with Royal Preston Hospital and Lancaster Infirmary announcing the same measures last Friday (December 31).
The hospital added that families can still maintain contact with their loved ones through Facetime and video messaging apps. It advises families to phone the ward to make arrangements.
The following exceptions are in place where visiting can continue:
- Where a patient is receiving end of life care – up to four family members may be permitted at the discretion of the ward manager. These visitors will be required to provide a negative lateral flow Covid test which will be carried out by the ward staff.
- Carers supporting someone, such as patients with dementia or a learning disability.
- Visiting to maternity and children’s services remain unchanged.
- Antenatal visits for scans – one person is able to attend. For all other antenatal appointments, an additional person can attend if previously agreed for a specific need.
Also, before entering a ward, visitors will be asked to take a Lateral Flow Test by a staff member.
A breakdown of current visiting rules can be found on the Trust website, here.