NHS Lothian suspends visiting to help protect patients and staff

NHS Lothian has today (24/03) announced that visiting will be suspended to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff. This move will come into effect from today.

Professor Alex McMahon, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Healthcare Professionals, NHS Lothian said:

“Across NHS Lothian, Scotland and the UK, we are experiencing profound changes in our daily lives as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). Now, more than ever, we need to work together. To our patients and their families, I would urge you to help us by respecting this difficult decision.”

Visiting will continue in specific circumstances; for example patients receiving end-of-life care, for inpatients in our children’s services and those accompanying partners during childbirth. Visiting arrangements for these groups should only take place following discussions with senior charge nurses or midwives.

Professor Alex McMahon added:

“I understand that not being able to visit family members while they are in hospital may be upsetting and I would like to assure the public that this decision has not been taken lightly.

“All across the UK, people are being urged to stay at home where they can and to limit social interactions, instead using phone and video calls to stay in touch with family and friends.

“The decision to suspend visiting may be unpopular with some patients and their families, but it has been made to help protect the safety of your loved ones and our staff.”

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.