BOSSES at Gobowen's Orthopaedic Hospital have described the decision to close to visitors from New Year's Eve as 'difficult but necessary'.

The hospital announced on Friday, December 31 that it would be restricting visitors with immediate effect because of the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases locally.

A spokesman said that visiting will still be open to those coming to see patients on the end of life care pathway and other exceptional circumstances – agreed beforehand – and that those visitors will be required to wear a face mask.

They added: "We have taken the difficult but necessary decision to restrict all visiting from Friday, December 31 at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital until further notice.

"The hospital will be closed to all visitors except those wanting to visit any patients on an end-of-life care pathway.

"Any other relatives who feel they have exceptional circumstances as to why they should be allowed to visit will need to discuss on a case-by-case basis with the nurse-in-charge.

"Exceptional circumstances could refer to people with a learning disability or dementia, where there may be increased distress. It could also mean that allowing a visitor may be of significant benefit to that patient.

"The decision has been taken in the interests of protecting our patients and our staff, and recognises the growing prevalence of Covid-19 in the community and concern that the spread of the Omicron variant could put unsustainable pressure on the health and care system over the next few weeks.

"Those who are able to visit patients under exceptional circumstances should not visit if they are experiencing symptoms, or if they have been in contact with someone who is a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 in the past 14 days.

"Visitors must also wear a surgical face mask provided by the Trust on arrival, and must follow guidance on hand hygiene and social distancing while in hospital."