Coronavirus/Covid-19 key information for patients and visitors

Click/tap here for key public-relevant Coronavirus/Covid-19 information for patients, visitors and members of the public.

Hospital visitor guidance – updated 18 May 2022

Posted on: Wednesday 22 Dec 2021

18 May 2022 Visitor Guidance

Please be aware this affects all opening times for all wards listed below 

Visiting restrictions have been eased further at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s (HDFT) hospitals in Harrogate and Ripon in line with national guidance.

Inpatients may have two visitors, between the hours of 2pm-4pm, for a duration of up to one hour. Booking to visit a loved one in hospital is no longer required.

Patient visiting guidance

Please do not visit if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness (cold/flu-like illness) or you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days.

Symptoms include:

  • High temperature, fever or chills
  • New, continuous cough
  • A loss or alteration to taste or smell
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • Diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick
  • Muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • Runny/stuffy nose, sore throat

Visitors – please help keep patients, staff and other visitors safe by doing the following:

  • Anyone visiting the hospitals will be required to wear a mask provided by the hospital.
  • Wear your mask over your nose and mouth during your visit, do not put it under your nose or lower it to talk. Please discuss with staff if lip reading is required.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands on entering the ward and the bay.
  • Do not sit on the patient’s bed.
  • Do not walk around the bay, please just stay with your relative.
  • Patients may have two visitors for 1 hour between the hours of 2:00pm and 4:00pm.
  • On leaving the bay and the ward, wash or sanitise your hands.
  • Visiting may change at short notice if a bay requires temporary closure for an infection or due to changes in national guidance.

Visits to patients who have COVID-19 may occur in exceptional circumstances, as agreed with the Ward Manager.

Our hospital is still extremely busy and staff are working as hard as they can to care for our patients, so please help them by adhering to this guidance. Your support is greatly appreciated.


Outpatients visiting one of our hospitals for an appointment may have one person accompanying them if required.

4 March 2022 Visitor Guidance

Visiting restrictions are to be eased from Tuesday 8 March at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust’s (HDFT) hospitals in Harrogate and Ripon following a decline in COVID-19 infection rates in the Harrogate district.

From Tuesday 8 March, inpatients may have one visitor, by appointment, between the hours of 2pm-4pm for a duration of 30 minutes. Only two visitors are allowed in each bay at any one time.

Visitors will be able to call to book an appointment from Monday 7 March. Bookings should be made directly with the ward on which the patient is staying by calling Harrogate District Hospital on 01423 885959 or Ripon Community Hospital on 01423 542900 between 10am and 4pm and asking to be put through to the relevant ward. At the time of booking, visitors will be asked to answer screening questions so we can maintain the safety of our patients and staff.

Visitors must not have any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, and must not have tested positive for COVID-19 or had contact with someone who has had the infection in the last 10 days. We would strongly recommend that visitors perform a lateral flow test before coming to our hospitals.

Visits to patients who have COVID-19 or who are currently in isolation due to contact with COVID-19 may occur in exceptional circumstances, as agreed with the Ward Manager.

From Tuesday 8 March, outpatients visiting one of our hospitals for an appointment may have a maximum of one person accompany them if required.

Anyone visiting the hospitals will be required to wear a mask provided by the hospital, wash and sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the hospital/ward they are visiting, and stay with their relative whilst on the ward.

23 December 2021 Visitor Guidance

The new variant of Covid-19 (Omicron) is highly transmissible; for this reason, we need to restrict the number of visitors to the wards at our hospital to maintain patient and staff safety. From Thursday 23 December, routine visiting to wards will no longer be possible and visitors will be allowed to visit the hopsital in exceptional cases only, which the ward manager/Nurse in Charge will agree.

These exceptions include:
• Visitors of those patients who are reaching end of life
• Carers of patients who have a Learning Disability or Severe Cognitive Impairment such as Dementia
• Parent/Carer of Children
• Birthing Partners

Please speak to the Nurse in Charge if you are unsure.

These restrictions also apply to those wanting to accompany outpatients to their appointments.

We hope you understand the importance of protecting both patients and staff and therefore why we have had to take this difficult decision. We appreciate this will be disappointing and upsetting for many people, however this decision has not been taken by the staff caring for your loved one so please do not express any frustration toward them. Our staff do an incredible job on a daily basis and any type of violence and aggression toward them will not be tolerated.

19 July 2021 Advice

Following national advice published on 15 July, as Covid restrictions are lifted in many places from 19 July, please remember the safety of our patients & staff continues to be our highest priority. We will be continuing to maintain our strict Covid-19 protocols for patients and visitors.

Dr Jacqueline Andrews, Executive Medical Director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The safety of our patients and staff is our highest priority. We must continue to do all we can to look after some of the most vulnerable members of our community as well as our staff who are providing care.

“We are still in this together, and we will be continuing to maintain our strict Covid-19 protocols for patients and visitors, even if guidance is changing in other settings. We are continuing to ask people to wear a mask at all times when in our hospitals, sanitise their hands and keep 2 metres distance from others.

“We must stay cautious and vigilant.

“Our colleagues are here to keep everyone safe and we ask that people continue to be kind and considerate.

“Patients and visitors have generally been fantastic at following our guidance throughout the pandemic, and we know that they will appreciate why we’re continuing with what’s already in place.”

Visiting arrangements – updated 12 April 2021

All inpatients may have one visitor, by appointment, between the hours of 2-4pm for a duration of 30 minutes. Bookings should be made directly with the ward on which the patient is.

Only two visitors are allowed in each bay at any one time.

Patients who are end of life, have dementia or a learning disability or have been in hospital for a long time may continue to have open/flexible visiting as before.

All visitors will be asked a series of questions at the time of booking about their Covid-19 health, travel and requests to isolate.

If the booking is made the day before they visit, the visitor must contact the ward on the day of visiting to ensure the information is still correct.

We thank you for your understanding.

Guidance for visitors

Visitors must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) – a mask and a visor. These will be provided on arrival at the hospital. There is no need for visitors to self/household isolate for 14 days after visiting (because a mask and visor is worn and good hand hygiene is followed).

Visitors to the hospital will not be admitted onto wards to see relatives if they are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, as well as flu or diarrhoea and vomiting. This will allow us to maintain patient safety at all times and prevent the spread of infection.

If visitors are waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test, they will need to return on receipt of these results, provided they are negative. Equally, if visitors have been contacted by Test and Trace to inform them that they are required to isolate at home, they will need to wait for the isolation period to be finished before being allowed to visit a relative.

We will also not be able to admit any visitors who have returned from international travel to countries with a 14 day quarantine period, until that period is finished.

Emergency Department

No accompanying visitors are allowed in the ED, with the exception of child patients who can be accompanied by one adult. Exception also includes the above instances in the bullet point list. This will be at the discretion of the shift lead.


We are able to facilitate a parent on Woodlands Children’s Ward and both parents on our Special Care Baby Unit. If difficult conversations are unfortunately needed or a child is critically ill, then both parents are welcome on Woodlands.


Patients attending outpatient appointments should visit alone unless they need a carer, for example to support with visual, hearing or mobility impairment, dementia or other carer needs.

Maternity Services – updated 12 April 2021

In line with the lifting of some national lockdown restrictions, we have changed some of the restrictions in Maternity Services.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities, individuals and teams continue to remain our absolute priority.

Antenatal and postnatal admissions (and Maternity Assessment Centre)

Only one person is permitted to visit. At the moment, a four hour visiting slot between either morning or afternoon will be allocated to you by the midwife in charge.

If you are being discharged home you will not be allocated a visiting slot on that day.

We will be providing further information on extension of visiting in the next two-three weeks (day time only), this information will be updated at this time.

If you are attending for an induction of labour your partner can attend with you.

No children will be permitted to visit.

Please could we kindly ask that face masks and visors be worn for the entirety of your visit on Pannal Ward and that these are not removed. If you have any concerns regarding this please speak with the midwife in charge.

Thank you.

To ensure that we can maintain our levels of safety for everyone, it is important for everyone to follow the expert national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation to help limit the spread of Covid-19, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.

If you have any of the following symptoms you should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others:

  • High temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • New, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

The two metre social distancing rule should be adhered to throughout the hospital wherever possible. Please may we ask that you adhere to this during your visit, including all communal areas and lifts. You may witness that this is not possible for staff when caring for patients.

Delivery Suite

One birthing partner can stay during labour and delivery up until discharge/transfer from delivery suite. The swapping of birthing partners is not permitted. If a named birth partner develops symptoms of Covid-19 then women can bring a different birth partner who is symptom free and in a position to self-isolate for 14 days.

Maternity outpatient areas

Partners can attend for all maternity outpatient appointments in the hospital.

Ultrasound appointments

As from Monday 12 April, we are allowing partners at all 12 week, 20 week scans and all other scans.

What to expect when you visit our hospital for maternity services

Please enter the hospital via the Main Entrance or the Strayside Wing ground floor entrance. Whichever entrance you use, please sanitise your hands and put on a mask (we will provide one). The mask must not be touched once applied/removed while in the corridors, communal areas and when visiting on the ward.

Clean your hands using the disinfectant hand sanitiser provided or soap and water where available:

  • on arrival to the hospital on entering the ward/department
  • when putting on or taking off any personal protective equipment (PPE) or face coverings
  • on leaving the patients bed space
  • on leaving the ward or department
  • on leaving the hospital building
  • as soon as you get home

Please bring as few belongings as possible to minimise the risk of infection.

Please go straight home after your visit, do not visit any other areas of the hospital.

You will not be required to self-isolate following your visit, as your risk from virus transmission will have been minimised by following the visiting guidance.

If at any point following your visit you display symptoms of Covid-19 you should follow the NHS guidance about self-isolating.

We look forward to welcoming you back.

For detailed Maternity Services advice, guidance please click/tap here.

Community services

In the community, colleagues are aiming for a minimal number of visits, instead using technology to facilitate remote appointments. We know that many teams are doing this already and that is much appreciated.

Wearing of masks when coming to hospital – new on 15 June 2020

This is an update about the use of face coverings when coming to Harrogate District Hospital and/or Ripon Community Hospital.

People infected with Covid-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

In line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we introduced measures to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.

You will need to wear a face mask when you come to hospital as a visitor or patient. Surgical face masks are available for patients and visitors at all entrances, and must be worn at all times while in hospital. If worn on arrival, please remove your own face covering and store safely in your bag/pocket and put on a fresh mask. There is no need to wear gloves.

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping our hospitals safe. If you are coming to hospital as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, it is important that you wear a face mask at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.

To keep the numbers of people coming into hospital to a minimum, please come alone if possible. If you need to come with a carer/relative, please ring the department you’re visiting before the day of your visit to discuss your requirements.

All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face mask while in the hospital setting.

If you have any questions or queries please speak with a member of staff.