Visiting to be reinstated at NHS Lanarkshire hospitals

Patients at Monklands Hospital and others across Lanarkshire will be able to have visitors again from Monday.

Health board officials say they are “delighted” that loved ones can be welcomed back to wards for the first time in four months, following an announcement by health secretary Jeane Freeman.

All but essential visits have been suspended for four months – but one named person can now arrange to visit each in-patient from Monday.

One named visitor now will be able to see those in non-Covid wards where there are no confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus, and will need to book in advance with medics to ensure they can be accommodated while maintaining physical distancing.

Visiting at Monklands and all of Lanarkshire’s hospitals was first restricted to very limited hours and then suspended entirely by health board officials in mid-March, ahead of the coronavirus lockdown, to reduce transmission and protect vulnerable people by limiting the numbers at hospitals.

Since then, only essential visits have been allowed, such as for patients receiving end-of-life care and those accompanying young children and new mums giving birth.

With visiting resuming on July 13, designated visitors will need to provide contact details in case they are required by the NHS Test and Protect scheme, and will be unable to bring items such as gifts, food and balloons into wards.

They will also need to wear face coverings, as well as washing hands, maintaining good hygiene and observing social distancing; and Ms Freeman stressed: “We need you, of course, not to visit if you have any Covid symptoms at all.”

She said: “I know how difficult it has been for people not being able to visit loved ones in hospital during the pandemic.

“Visiting has important benefits for patients’ health and wellbeing and I hope families across Scotland who have a loved one in hospital right now will welcome this announcement.”

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