Changes to Hospital Visiting Arrangements

Visiting across hospital sites in Forth Valley has been suspended, except for essential visits and other arrangements to support pregnant women and children.

The move, which comes into effect from Thursday 5th November 2020, is designed to help protect patients and staff from coronavirus. Where possible, ward staff have been contacting relatives who had previously been identified as designated visitors to advise them of the changes and provide further information on the new arrangements.

NHS Forth Valley Nurse Director, Professor Angela Wallace, said the move to suspend visiting had been a difficult decision. “With rising levels of Covid-19 within our local communities we have made this move to help reduce the risk of transmission within our hospitals, protect patients and staff and manage the increasing pressure on our hospitals which are currently very busy.”

“I understand that not being able to visit a loved one while they are in hospital will be upsetting for many people. However, I would like to assure people that this decision has not been taken lightly and we hope local patients and families understand the reasons behind this difficult decision and work with us to support these new arrangements.”

“We will also continue to offer virtual visiting for patients using telephones, iPads and laptops to help people keep in touch with their loved ones.”

Under the new national visiting guidance, which forms part of the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework, some essential visits are still permitted for areas with level three Covid-19 protection measures. These include visits for patients receiving end-of-life care, for patients with a mental health issues (including dementia, learning disabilities and autism), to support a child or baby in hospital and to accompany pregnant women to scans and antenatal appointments and provide support during and after labour.

Clinical staff will also aim to be as flexible and compassionate as possible to support visiting in circumstances where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Arrangements for essential visits must be agreed in advance with the relevant ward or department. All visitors must use the alcohol gel provided when entering and leaving hospitals, wards and other clinical areas, wear a face mask before they enter the hospital and other PPE, as required, throughout the duration of their visit.

If anyone has any questions about visiting arrangements, they should speak to the nurse in charge of the ward or contact NHS Forth Valley’s Patient Relations Department on 01324 566660.