A major milestone in Fife’s fight against the coronavirus is within sight after health chiefs confirmed that patients in the region’s hospitals will be able to receive visitors again from July 13.
NHS Fife was forced to take the unprecedented step of stopping loved ones from going in to see patients at healthcare sites at the end of March amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19.
The measures, which applied to all of Fife’s hospitals with some limited exceptions, were expected to be in place for several weeks, and all in all it will be three-and-a-half months by the time the blanket restrictions are finally lifted in 10 days’ time.
The change in approach does come with a caveat though, as patients in the non-coronavirus areas of Fife’s hospitals will initially be allowed visits from one named person at a time.
The visits must be agreed in advance with the ward where the patient is being treated and visitors must wear a face covering at all times whilst in any communal areas of the hospital.
Those visiting any clinical areas such as wards will be asked to remove their face covering when entering and will instead be issued with a surgical face mask, which must be worn in its place.
When leaving these areas, the surgical face mask must be removed and the face covering worn again.
Within those areas where patients may be treated whilst positive for Covid-19, NHS Fife maintains that only essential visitors will be allowed, such as in cases where a person is receiving end of life care, to accompany children or adults with mental health issues, or to support women during childbirth.
A NHS Fife spokesperson added: “Importantly, visitors must not attend if they have any possible symptoms of the virus, such as a new cough; a sore throat; or a loss of taste or smell.
“As announced previously, strict social-distancing and hygiene measures will be in place to limit the risk of the virus spreading within our hospitals.
“These include visitors being prevented from bringing presents such as flowers, food parcels or balloons into the hospital.”
Exceptions to the visiting suspension have only been applied over the last few months in neonatal units, maternity services, children’s wards and hospices.