Great Western Hospital has announced a change to its visiting hours policy. 

The healthcare setting has expanded visiting hours because it says 'being accompanied by loved ones is crucial to the care' of its patients. 

A spokesperson said: "We have introduced flexible visiting, which is available between 8am and 8pm in most wards.

"Patients are also able to be accompanied to most appointments and visiting outside of these hours may be possible following discussion with the ward area."

The Trust has published new guidance for visiting, which recognises the invaluable role and contribution that family, friends, and carers provide in our patients’ care.

This includes what it says is its commitment to ensuring that visitors are welcomed throughout the hospital and it adds that it recognises that those people who are important to our patients may vary and can include close friends.

You can find out more about the Trust’s updated visitor guidance via our website:

Tania Currie, head of patient experience and engagement, said: “We know that the quality of care for patients is improved by involving the family, friends, and carers of our patients.

"It is important to us that patients know that they have a right to receive visits and to be accompanied to appointments based on their personal preference.

"That’s why we’re sharing updated guidance on our website, which includes expanded visiting hours and a commitment to ensuring that all visitors feel welcomed and able to attend.”

While most wards in the hospital will operate under this policy, not all of them will. 

There are just a few exceptions in specialist areas such as the Critical Care Unit, the Acute Cardiac Unit, Maternity and Neonatal services and the Day Surgery Unit.

And in all cases, a limit of two visitors at any one time to a patient’s bedside remains in place

Further information is available on the Trust website or members of the public are asked to speak to a member of staff if they have any questions. 

The hospital is currently undergoing its biggest expansion ever.

Work is well underway to build a new urgent and emergency care centre at the hospital, with the new facilities set to open later this year. 

The total cost of the expansion will be £33.5million, which has come from a combination of Government funding and the hospital Trust's own funds.