Epworth HealthCare has made the difficult decision to implement a ‘no visitor’ policy across its Melbourne hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tighter visitor restrictions come into effect from Friday, 17 July 2020. Information about the new restrictions is available on our website.

Epworth HealthCare Group Chief Executive, Dr Lachlan Henderson thanked patients for their understanding.

‘We have reduced visitor access with tight restrictions to ensure our patients, staff and doctors safe and we appreciate the support of our patients and their families,’ Dr Henderson said.

‘We recognise that keeping patients and their loved ones in contact with one another is important and we encourage them to do this as much as possible through other means such phone, FaceTime and Skype.’

Exceptions will be made for essential caregivers or in special circumstances.

Epworth is proud to be part of Victoria’s coordinated state-wide response to the pandemic, working closely with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) since the pandemic began.

In line with DHHS guidelines, all elective surgery and maternity patients now undergo pre-admission COVID-19 swab testing and then have to self-isolate in the days leading up to their booking.

Epworth has also reduced elective surgery across its Melbourne hospitals to ensure there is available capacity and to preserve supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Dr Henderson said people have noticed an increase in the use of facemasks at all of our sites.

‘All of our staff and doctors, patients and visitors are now wearing face masks in addition to other measures including hand hygiene and social distancing, to keep everyone safe,’ Dr Henderson said.

‘Our strict protocols including use of PPE in the ED and throughout our hospitals are in line with guidelines set out by DHHS. ‘

Epworth has a stockpile of Australian-grade facemasks in its warehouse and the organisation has been working with trusted suppliers to maintain PPE supplies.

Separate visitor and pre-surgery testing guidelines are in place for Epworth Geelong.