Covid Scotland: NHS Lothian announces that visitors can return to hospitals as Covid-19 restrictions eased

Family members and friends will once again be able to visit sick patients in hospitals across NHS Lothian more than two years after they were first forced to stay away.

By Rhoda Morrison
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 5:31 pm

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No more than two visitors at a time will now be able to comfort their loved ones by their bedsides - a practice which was halted to stop the spread of Coronavirus in March 2020.

The restriction has been lifted due to the falling rates of infection across Scotland, but NHS Lothian has warned that visiting may be reduced again in the event of a Covid outbreak on a ward.

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Patients in hospitals in NHS Lothian, like at the Western General, will be able to see a loved-one for the first time since lockdown.

Anyone visiting a hospital is being asked to avoid the hospital if they are feeling unwell, to wash their hands and to wear a mask to help protect those in the hospitals who are vulnerable.

Gillian McAuley, interim nurse director at NHS Lothian, said: “We have been monitoring the situation very closely and we are really pleased to be in the position where we can welcome more visitors back into our wards.

“We know that visiting plays an important role in patient recovery and indeed in overall outcomes.

“The rates of Covid-19 transmission are falling, however we are still asking people to be mindful of themselves and others.

“Please don’t visit a loved one in hospital if you feel unwell; remember and wash your hands and use hand gel and finally wear a mask.”

“These small things are hugely important. They will protect the person you are visiting, at a time when they are unwell and therefore most susceptible to infection, and also the other patients they may share space with in the ward.”

The number of visitors has been capped at two to avoid large groups or overcrowding at patients’ bedsides but NHS Lothian said exceptions would be made for those visiting patients in end of life care. The restrictions around the number of birth partners have also been removed.

Adult outpatients will now be able to be accompanied by one person, unless circumstances are exceptional, while a child can be accompanied by two people.