What are the new restrictions?
The decision has been taken that the hospitals will operate an essential visits only policy.
This includes maternity wards. Only one essential visitor will be allowed in all parts of the ‘maternity pathway’. More information on visits to maternity wards can be found on the NHS site.
The NHS board says it needs to balance the importance of support for those in hospital with the need to protect patients and staff from Covid-19.
Are there any exceptions?
There are only two exceptions to the new rules: paediatrics and neonates, where it is recommended patients can have a maximum of two visitors per day.
What are classed as essential visits?
Essential visits include the following examples:
- A birth partner supporting a woman during hospital visits and throughout the maternity pathway
- A person receiving end-of-life care – this will be defined as flexibly and compassionately as possible, to support patients at the end of life spending meaningful time with their loved ones in their final days, weeks or months
- To support someone with a mental health issue, or dementia, or a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
- To accompany a child in hospital
- In general situations when someone is receiving information about life-changing illness or treatments.
- In these and other similar situations where support from another person is essential for advocacy and wellbeing, family support should be facilitated.
Give and Go service
The Give and Go Service, available earlier in the pandemic, will be remobilised for family to drop-off essential personal items for patients and to pick up laundry etc. The service will be available from Wednesday, and thereafter Monday – Friday as follows:
- Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (main atrium) – items should also be dropped off here for patients in the INS – available between 12pm – 4pm
- Glasgow Royal Infirmary (medical block entrance) – available between 12pm – 5pm
- Royal Alexandra Hospital (main hospital foyer) – available between 12pm – 5pm
- Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (main entrance), available between 8.30am – 3.30pm
- Local arrangements will be in operation in all other sites. Speak to ward staff who will advise of local arrangements for dropping off and collecting belongings.
Further information can be found on the Give and Go Webpage.
What is the NHS saying?
Jennifer Rodgers, deputy nurse director at NHSGGC, said: “This has been one of the hardest decisions to take but it is essential to help protect our patients, visitors and staff. We recognise how difficult this is for patients and the people that matter most to them and we will keep this under close review so that restrictions are not in place any longer than is necessary.
“This decision has been reached in conjunction with senior infection control, public health, clinical and operational teams, and in the best interests of patient wellbeing.
Jennifer added: “Essential visiting arrangements will be applied flexibly and compassionately, and each patient’s needs considered on their own merits. Carers, those providing essential care or emotional support, or spiritual care are not considered to be visitors and will continue to be permitted to attend a patient in hospital.”
Angela O’Neil, deputy nurse director, added: “We recognise how difficult it is for families being apart, especially when their loved one is unwell. Where possible ward staff will continue to support patients to maintain contact with those closest to them however due to the extreme pressures staff are under if may not be possible to give an exact time or day when a video call or telephone call can be guaranteed.
“We are sorry for any distress this may cause and of course, staff will always try to facilitate these calls where possible, however we ask for your understanding while we try to manage under very challenging circumstances.”