People in hospital who do not have COVID-19 will be able to have a designated visitor from this week.
Until now, hospital visits during the pandemic have only been permitted in limited essential circumstances. These include where a patient is reaching end-of-life, where a patient needs a birthing partner to be present or where people with mental health issues would be caused distress if they didn’t receive the benefit of a visit.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“Restricting access to people in hospital has been necessary to keep patients and staff as safe as possible and it has helped us protect the capacity and resilience of NHS Scotland.
“I want to thank everyone who has followed this guidance as I know how hard it has been for patients, families and carers not to have seen their loved ones in the hospital. The continued progress we are making in suppressing the virus has allowed us to safely, and in a series of phases, resume hospital visiting in line with clinical expert advice.
“There is a need to balance the risk of physical and psychological harm that the absence of visitors can cause, with the gradual reduction of COVID-19. We have worked with Health Protection Scotland to plan how we safely restore a person-centred approach to visiting in Scotland’s hospitals.
“The safety of patients, staff and visitors will continue to be our priority. I want to reassure you that we are taking these precautions so that we can safely offer the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.