WIGAN and Leigh Hospice will temporarily close some of its services and only allow "essential visitors" to see loved ones to protect patients from coronavirus.

The hospice, based at Kildare Street in Hindley, will limit visitors to two nominated people per patient and its Oak Centre days service has been shut.

"Essential visits" to patients in the community will continue to be made but its Hospice in your Care Home will not be going to care homes at the moment.

A spokesman for the hospice said: “Due to the current circumstances around the global coronavirus outbreak, we have taken the decision to close some of our services temporarily and restrict visiting to essential visitors only.

“We are limiting visitors to two nominated people per patient.

"In line with UK Government recommendations, social distancing will be encouraged and if these visitors have either a new continuous cough or a high temperature of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher, they will not be allowed into the Hospice.

“Our training and education service, Hospice in your Care Home, is no longer visiting care homes but the hospice will offer support to care home staff over the telephone.

"Some staff from this team will be redeployed to other clinical areas as required.

“The Oak Centre day service has closed as a precautionary measure.

“Some bereavement support and counselling will be offered to clients over the telephone.

"All but essential complementary therapy sessions have been suspended.

“These have not been easy decisions to make as we know many people rely on these services but we feel it is the right thing to do given the current situation.

“Coronavirus seems to be affecting most those who have weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term and incurable, progressive illnesses.

"It is important that we take all reasonable steps to protect the wellbeing of patients, as well as our staff and volunteers.

“The steps will continue to be reviewed with the aim of restoring services back to normal as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We are making essential visits to patients in the community.

"We are telephoning all patients before appointments to check that they do not have coronavirus or the symptoms.

"For patients we cannot visit we are offering telephone appointments."

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Wigan and Leigh Hospice's Woodview Centre

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The hospice expect to suffer financially from the effect of the virus.

The spokesman said: "Our fundraising events remain unaffected at this moment although seven people were planning on running the London Marathon for the hospice which has now been postponed.

"We will be speaking to those participants about their options in the next few days.

“All of our shops currently remain open and will do their best to remain open.

"However, they are run entirely by volunteers and therefore we expect there will be times when our shops cannot open.

“We anticipate there will be a substantial impact on our finances and would ask local people to continue supporting the hospice however possible at this challenging time.

“We would like to thank local people for their patience and understanding at this challenging time.

"It is also important to thank our volunteers, many of whom continue to carry out their essential roles.”

For the latest information about the hospice visit wlh.org.uk or go to the hospice's social media accounts.