Manning Hospital and Hunter New England Health District HNEH) have received backlash in relation to new visitor restrictions imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The health district recently announced patients are only allowed one visitor at a time, namely a main carer or significant other, to minimise the risk to other patients and staff.
This news copped heavy criticism, especially on social media.
HNEH clinical services nursing and midwifery executive director and health service functional area co-ordinator, Liz Grist said the reaction to the restrictions was unwarranted.
"That hasn't been fair on the hard working staff," Ms Grist said.
"We are not doing this just because we can, it's to protect all patients and staff.
"Who will look after patients if the staff get sick?"
Visitors must not enter Manning Hospital if they have a fever, cold or flu-like symptoms, have returned from overseas in the past fortnight or have been in contact with anyone who has a confirmed COVID-19 case in the last fortnight.
"We encourage visitors to do a self-assessment and if they have cold or flu-like symptoms they shouldn't enter a hospital," Ms Grist added.
"Visitors who enter the hospital must gel their hands on arrival."
The unprecedented nature of the virus means health services are doing everything in their power to stop the spread.
This means residents must be on board.
"These measures need to be taken so the virus can be contained," Ms Grist said.
As Manning Hospital staff have already cared for a patient with the virus, the reality of the situation should resonate with visitors.
"It's paramount we don't have visitors in the hospital who don't need to be there," Ms Grist said.
"Patients in hospital for other reasons don't want to get something from a visitor."
A 'commonsense' approach will be taken in situations such as end of life care.
Ms Grist said if a family coulfd notify staff in advance, measures would be taken to ensure everyone available could meet with the patient.
Outside of the hospital, Ms Grist said the community needed to continue social distancing and hand hygiene.
For those caught up with the virus, seek medical attention and self isolate when instructed to do so.
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