A visitor ban imposed at Stevenage's Lister Hospital at the beginning of the first lockdown to help stop the spread of coronavirus has been lifted.

Visitors to adult inpatient wards are being welcomed back, with patients staying in hospital now able to have one visitor for a one-hour timeslot, which must be booked on the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's website beforehand.

To help ensure the safety of the hospital’s patients and staff, the visitor must be the same person for each visit. After making a booking, visitors must complete a risk assessment to bring with them on the day for the nursing team to review.

Hospital staff are also strongly advising those without any symptoms of coronavirus to take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week for the period they are visiting their loved one.

Those who receive a positive result from the test should not visit the hospital, while those who have a negative result will need to confirm this on their risk assessment.

Visitors should arrive five minutes before their booking slot to allow time for the nursing team to review their risk assessment and ensure they are wearing the correct personal protection equipment.

Rachael Corser – chief nurse at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, which runs Lister – said: “We know how important it is for our patients and their loved ones to see each other, so we’re delighted to be able to welcome back visitors to Lister Hospital.

“Although cases of coronavirus are decreasing, we must ensure visiting takes place in a careful and COVID-secure way to keep patients and staff safe, so please read and follow the guidance on our website, and do your bit to keep everyone safe.”

The lifting of the visitor ban follows the easing of visitor restrictions at the hospital's maternity unit since the autumn, allowing pregnant women to be accompanied at scans by one named person.

More information, including how to book a virtual visit if you are unable to attend in person, can be found on the trust’s website enherts-tr.nhs.uk/patient-visitors/inpatient-visiting-at-lister-hospital