NHS Lothian has today announced that, in line with Scottish Government guidance, visiting across sites will be suspended unless for essential visits only.
This move is designed to help protect patients and staff by limiting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and comes into effect from today (28/10).
Fiona Ireland, Deputy Director of Nursing, NHS Lothian said: “Across Lothian, Scotland and the UK, we are seeing rising levels of COVID-19 within the community.
“We have taken the difficult decision to suspend visiting across our sites to help minimise the risk of transmission, to protect patients, our staff and the wider community, and to manage the increasing pressure on our acute and community sites.”
Where possible, ward staff have been contacting relatives, who had previously been identified as designated visitors, to advise them of the new arrangements and to provide more information.
Under the current guidance, some essential visits are still permitted; for example patients receiving end-of-life care, for patients with mental health issues including dementia, for inpatients in our children’s services and those accompanying partners during childbirth.
Visiting arrangements for these groups should only take place
following discussions with senior charge nurses or midwives.
Ms Ireland added: “I understand that not being able to visit family members while they are in hospital may be upsetting, but I would like to assure the public that this decision has not been taken lightly.
“With higher levels of COVID-19 cases within the community, there is an increased risk that visitors could inadvertently bring COVID-19 into our hospital sites, especially if they are not showing any symptoms.
“This decision will help manage the increasing risks of COVID-19 transmission and protect the safety of your loved ones, our staff and the wider community. I would urge our patients and families to help us by respecting this difficult decision.”