NHS Tayside has banned visiting at all of its hospitals across the region in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus.
From Thursday, no one will be able to visit friends or relatives at inpatient wards, in an effort to protect vulnerable patients.
People will only be allowed into hospitals in “specific circumstances” including visiting patients who are receiving end-of-life care or to visit partners during childbirth.
A statement from the health board reads: “NHS Tayside has taken the decision to suspend all visiting times for inpatient wards in all hospitals across Tayside to limit the spread of coronavirus and to protect vulnerable patients. This will come into effect from Thursday, 19 March.
“We know that patients and families may have concerns but we hope everyone understands that we have taken this difficult decision to help protect our patients and staff as it will further reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals each day.
“Visiting will continue in specific circumstances; for example patients receiving end-of-life care or those accompanying partners during childbirth. This would be agreed following discussions with the senior charge nurse/midwife responsible for the clinical area.
“If anyone has any further questions about visiting arrangements please speak to the nurse in charge of the ward.”
NHS Tayside’s director of nursing and midwifery, Claire Pearce, said: “We understand that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients and we know that not being able to visit family members whilst they are in hospital may be upsetting.
“We hope that they will understand that we have made this very difficult decision in the best interests of our patients.
“We would like to remind everyone coming into hospital to follow NHS Tayside’s hand hygiene and hand washing advice and we asking everyone not to visit our hospitals if they have any flu-like symptoms, a cough, a fever or a cold – or if they generally feel unwell.”
Changes to maternity and early pregnancy services appointments are as follows:
- Women must attend early pregnancy appointments alone
- Women must attend all ultrasound scans alone
- Women to attend all antenatal clinic appointments at GPs and hospitals – including Perth and Angus community maternity units – alone
- One named visitor will be allowed in postnatal and antenatal wards and areas
- One named birth partner will be allowed during labour
- One named partner will be allowed for women having induction of labour or women admitted in early labour
- No children will be admitted in any areas