The new arrangements came into effect on Friday; patients can now have two visits a day with up two people for up to 45 minutes and the visitors can change for each visit. This allows up to four people to visit daily.
Essential visiting will remain in place in ward areas or settings where the environment makes visiting difficult due to Covid restrictions, social distancing or if there is an active outbreak. In these areas staff will use their professional judgement on when a visit can take place.
While there is now no need to arrange a visiting appointment time, staff on the wards will advise on visiting times throughout the day for each individual ward to help minimise the number of visitors attending at any one time.
Visitors will also need to have a negative lateral flow test (LFT) and staff will be asking people to confirm they have undertaken a test before access to wards. LFT’s can be ordered at www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
Susan Friel, NHS Lanarkshire nurse director, said: “We have been reviewing our visiting restrictions regularly and as we are starting to see things ease we are now in a position to be able to allow more visitors access to our patients.
“We know that this will bring some comfort to our patients who may not have been able to see loved ones recently. This will provide those patients in hospital with the vital support they need from family, carers or friends.
“However, while the majority of our patients will be able to have two visitors there are some restrictions which we need to maintain in areas where space is confined or we have an outbreak and patient safety is paramount.
“While visitors can now have close contact with their loved one, they are reminded to adhere to physical distancing in communal areas of the hospital, wear face coverings at all times and frequently wash their hands when entering and leaving clinical areas.”
To minimise risk, a lateral flow test must be undertaken and a negative result verbally confirmed to ward staff.
No visits should take place if the visitor has Covid-19 symptoms or is quarantining because they’ve had contact with a person with Covid-19.
Physical distancing must be observed in all communal areas, face coverings must be worn and existing hand hygiene measures will continue.