Changes to visiting restrictions for our sites during the Covid-19 pandemic

Visiting in person to all our sites was temporarily suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic and replaced by virtual visits in line with NHS England and Public Health England guidelines.

The relaxation of those regulations allows face to face visits to return, except in cases where it has been individually assessed that the risks cannot be safely managed, or the visit would not be appropriate, for example if the patient was too unwell to participate, or did not have the capacity to maintain social distancing.

Ward 35 at Aintree Hospital: Visiting is temporarily suspended.

How visits will be managed

The process for booking and the manner in which visits are facilitated will remain similar to systems previously in place prior to Covid-19 however there will be some important changes and obligations for both visitors and service users who participate:

  • Only one visitor will be permitted to visit a patient at any one time or two visitors from one household
  • Cleaning procedure has been enhanced and will take place before and after the visit in the visiting suite
  • Visitors must wear face masks at all times, these will be provided if necessary. Face masks will be also worn by staff and patients throughout the visit and patients and visitors must wash their hands before and after the visit. Hand sanitiser will be provided
  • Social distancing must be adhered to at all times.

You will be asked to complete a questionnaire on arrival capturing contact details and current health; should you experience on the day of the visit a new continuous cough, a high temperature and/or a loss of or change in taste or smell you should not visit; if you display these symptoms you should self-isolate at home and organise a test, members of your household should also self-isolate for 14 days.

Contact information for visitors and details of their travel history will be retained and in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak shared with NHS Track and Trace.

Booking a Visit

To book a visit, interested people should contact the ward/hospital for specific arrangements/details, but some sites have specific notice periods for visits to be booked (see below). 



It is expected that there will be high demand for visiting whilst the number who may visit simultaneously has been reduced to maintain safety.

The process for booking a visit will remain unchanged however you will be asked about your health and travel history to assess risk.

Notice required for visits (all other sites please contact the ward/hospital for specific arrangements/details)

  • Ashworth High Secure Hospital - 72 hours notice. Initially patients will be permitted one visit per month whilst demand is gauged
  • Rathbone Low Secure Unit - 48 hours notice. Initially patients will be permitted two visits per week whilst demand is gauged
  • STAR Unit - 48 hours notice. Initially patients will be permitted two visits per week whilst demand is gauged
  • Scott Clinic - 48 hours notice
  • Whalley Specialist Learning Disability site - All visiting has been suspended following the Government announcement on 30 July 2020 to increase lockdown restrictions to parts of Lancashire, unless in exceptional circumstances. 

Alternatives to Visiting

The Trust will attempt to facilitate all requests for approved visitors to visit in person in a way that protects you, the individual you visit, other patients and staff mitigating the risks of contracting COVID-19. It is important to state that visits are at your own risk. Alternative means of contact such as virtual visits remain available should you not wish to visit in person.