Attending Appointments & Visiting Arrangements
New procedures are in place for anyone attending a hospital appointment and restricted visiting arrangements are currently in place to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and protect the health of patients and staff. This is vital while we work towards restarting our services.
Visiting is only permitted in the majority of our hospital inpatient wards for essential or compassionate reasons. Arrangements are also in place to support pregnant women, children and babies during appointments or inpatient stays and these are outlined below.
Examples of essential visits include visits by a designated relative or friend to:
- Support a person receiving end-of-life care
- Support someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
- Support a child or baby in hospital
- Accompany pregnant women to the booking scan, 20 week anomaly scan and any emergency appointments, act as a birth partner during labour and visit them after they have given birth. This does not include routine antenatal appointments with the exception of any pregnant woman who has suffered a previous loss.
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. For further information and advice see the NHS Forth Valley Visiting Guidance.
Maternity and Neonatal Visiting
Women attending the Maternity Unit can be accompanied by one visitor when attending the booking scan, 20 week anomaly scan and any emergency appointments. This does not include routine antenatal appointments with the exception of any pregnant woman who has suffered a previous loss. One designated visitor (usually the birth partner) can visit whilst they are in hospital on either the antenatal or postnatal ward and women in labour can be accompanied by one birth partner.
Where possible, we would ask that you do not bring children with you to the hospital or an outpatient appointment without prior discussion with staff. Birth partners must remain within the ward area with their partners or whilst visiting within the Neonatal Unit, and are not permitted to visit other areas within the hospital. We also request that no gifts, flowers or balloons etc are brought into the hospital during visiting to limit the risk of transmission.
Please note NHS Forth Valley is a non smoking hospital.
Arranging Visits in Advance
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.
For further information and advice see the NHS Forth Valley Visiting Guidance.
Please attend appointments on your own to help maintain physical distancing and avoid overcrowding in waiting areas. If you have been driven to the hospital please ask friends or family members to drop you off and return to pick you up later or wait for you in the hospital car park. This is particularly important in the Emergency Department, Outpatient Department, X-ray Department and Minor Injuries Unit as these areas can be very busy.
However, if thought essential, one dedicated person can attend with a patient. Examples of situations where this might be important include, but are not restricted to:
- when a person may have difficulty understanding what treatment or course of action a clinician is discussing
- where a person has dementia, a learning disability or autism
- where a person is receiving bad news or information that is potentially life-changing
- where a person is receiving a cancer diagnosis or discussing cancer treatment options
- when a pregnant woman attends an appointment in any setting including an obstetric ultrasound (this would be a birth partner in most instances)
- where a person is distressed or stressed
In addition, consideration should also be given as to whether a family member or supporting person can attend a consultation virtually, for example, via an electronic platform or by phone, if a relative or friend cannot attend in person. There may also be occasions where more than one accompanying person is required e.g. translator, mobility support. More information about attending for an operation can be found in our Pre-Surgery Guidance.
All patients and visitors should wear a face covering when they attend hospital in line with national guidance. If you don’t have your own then you will be provided with a face mask to wear however it would be helpful if you could bring your own if possible to help maintain local supplies.
A face covering does not have to be a surgical or other medical grade mask but must be a facial covering of the mouth and nose. Face coverings worn over the mouth and nose may include face mask, protective visor, scarf or any other type of appropriate covering (it will not be acceptable to pull a shirt, blouse, jumper or coat up to try and cover your nose and mouth). If you choose to wear a face visor it must cover the nose and mouth completely.
There will be hand sanitiser gel stations/dispensers at main entrances and outside wards so please stop and use the alcohol gel to help protect yourself and others.
Shops, Toilets & Food Outlets
Shops, toilets and restaurants are not currently open to the public to help reduce the risk of infection and avoid any non-essential visits.