Friday 20th March 2020,
North Edinburgh Community News

Changes to hospital visiting rules

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, NHS Lothian has reviewed its policy on visiting to boost safety for patients and staff.

New guidance from the Scottish Government says that only immediate family or carers will be allowed to visit a patient in hospital.

Across NHS Lothian, visiting will be restricted to two visitors at a time unless there are exceptional circumstances and following discussion with the nurse in charge, and unfortunately children under the age of 12 will not be permitted to visit.  This is to help reduce the number of people in any area, at any one time and to maintain distancing.

Professor Alex McMahon, Nurse Director, NHS Lothian, said: “We know that patients and their families will understand that we have to place safety at the very heart of everything we do. 

“In some circumstances visiting is vital to help aid recovery and patient care. We would therefore encourage family members to discuss visiting with ward staff ahead of their arrival, so that this can be planned around individual patients.

“We are aware that this decision may be unpopular with some patients and families, but we would reassure them that we are prioritising the safety of their loved ones and our staff. 

“Ensuring that we can continue to provide high quality patient care during these unchartered times is our top priority and we hope patients and their families will understand and respect this difficult decision.”

There may be circumstances where visiting is restricted even further for patients who are in isolation and these will be discussed with families.

The guidance on visiting for both our Children’s and Maternity services differs from other areas, and we would encourage patients and their family to discuss this with staff in the first instance. 

Visitors who have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – fever and new and persistent cough – should stay at home and not come into hospital. Instead they can keep in contact with loved ones by phone or video call.

To stay up to date with the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) advice, visit NHS Inform: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

A free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice. This can be accessed by calling 0800 028 2816. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8:00am – 10:00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 8:00am – 6:00pm.

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