NHS Tayside has banned visiting at all of its hospitals in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.
No one will be able to visit friends or relatives at inpatients wards across the region from Thursday as the health board steps up its fight against covid-19.
People who are accompanying partners during childbirth or need to see someone who is receiving end-of-life care are among the limited number who may be granted access to hospitals from now on.
NHS Tayside has also announced changes to visiting policies for women attending pregnancy appointments, with expectant mothers told they must go to all ultrasound scans alone.
Only one named partner will be allowed to accompany a pregnant women 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, March 19.
“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.”
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.”
NHS Tayside’s 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 wlloed 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
Fight against covid-19 steps up in Scotland following third death
As of Wednesday, there were 227 confirmed positive covid-19 cases across the country – a rise of 32 from Tuesday.
The figure for Tayside is up by four to 24 and has risen from seven to eight in Fife.
A total of 6,091 Scottish tests have been carried out with 5,864 of them confirmed as negative.
There are 2,626 confirmed covid-19 cases across the UK.