Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has welcomed the further relaxation of visiting arrangements by the Department of Health.
The local health spokesperson said:
“The lifting of the blanket ban on visiting coming into effect today will see a considerable change with visitors now being allowed into many wards and care homes at the discretion of the nurse in charge or manager.
“For many, the inability to see a loved one during the different stages of the lockdown has been extremely tough. I know many health and social care staff went to great lengths to keep families and friends connected. A special recognition of this effort must be made as for many it made the world of difference.
“As we continue to ease the restrictions from the lockdown it is right that visiting arrangements were reviewed and changed.
“I am glad to see that the Department has taken on board the call of carers to accompany a loved one, when necessary, at all times when in care. It is an important recognition to the invaluable role that carers play in supporting the health and social care system.
“I am also delighted to see that maternity services will see changes including birthing partners being able to accompany pregnant women during the birth and to many of the other appointments. This has been something Sinn Féin has raised at the Health committee and with the Minister of Health.
“Obviously, the visiting policy may change depending on the spread of the virus and the circumstances at each ward or care home, as safety and public health must continue to come first but this will undoubtedly bring comfort to many during this challenging time.”
“I would urge all members of the public to work with staff around the new visiting arrangements. Although it is a considerable step forward, we must be able to react and respond to any signs of a rise and spread of COVID-19 cases.”