Restrictions on visiting patients at Basingstoke hospital have been eased.

Inpatients across Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's sites, which also include Andover and Winchester, are now allowed one visitor at a time, but they must be arranged with the nurse in charge of the ward.

Previously, visits were only allowed in essential or compassionate circumstances, but HHFT have confirmed that this requirement has been removed.

The relaxation in rules comes in line with the latest stage of the government's roadmap of easing lockdown restrictions, after indoor hospitality reopened on Monday.

There have been strict rules on visiting hospital during the pandemic, but the hospital trust announced last month that they would relax their visiting restrictions in line with a decline in Covid cases in the region.

But significant restrictions will remain, including visitors having had a negative lateral flow Covid test, and wearing a surgical face mask.

Children under 12 are unable to visit at this time, with the exception of in maternity or palliative/end of life care.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief nurse Julie Dawes said: “We know how important it is for our patients to see their friends and family and are really pleased to be able to make gradual changes from today.

“Keeping our patients, staff and visitors safe is our top priority, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation in our hospitals and the wider community.

“As such, everyone who is coming to our hospitals must continue wear surgical face masks, wash their hands at regular intervals and socially distance at all times.

“We’re encouraging visitors to be driven to and from hospital by a member of your household wherever possible to minimise the risk of exposure to others. We’re also asking that visitors go directly to and from the ward in question and not visit other areas of the hospital.

“We also want to reiterate that we know how important it is to be able to visit friends and family when they are in hospital and how beneficial it is for patients, but that this must take place in the safest way possible - returning to normality will continue to be a gradual process.”

You can see the full rules here.