Covid Scotland: NHS Borders extends ban on all but essential hospital visits

NHS Borders has extended its ban on all but essential hospital visits in a bid to manage active outbreaks of Covid-19.

The health board was one of many to restrict visiting in early January as Omicron cases in Scotland rose.

Limits were initially brought in on January 5 for two weeks. This has been extended “for a very short term period”, NHS Borders said.

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It comes as NHS Forth Valley, which moved to essential visiting only on January 11, announced that routine visits will return from Monday January 24.

Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Patients in all hospitals will be allowed to see one visitor for 45 minutes every day.

Essential-only visiting continues in several health boards, including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Lanarkshire.

NHS Borders said in a statement: “We have taken the difficult decision to remain at essential visiting only across NHS Borders sites.

"These restrictions will only continue to be in place for a very short-term period so that we can adequately manage active outbreaks.

"This will help to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible and provide equity of visiting across all of our settings.

“We are rapidly working towards easing these restrictions in the coming days.”

The statement added: “We recognise that being unable to visit loved ones places considerable emotional strain on family members and carers.

"However given the current circumstances and potential risks it is the right thing to do. We are asking the people of the Borders to respect and comply with our essential visiting guidelines:”

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Essential hospital visits include those from a birth partner, parents or guardians visiting children or at end-of-life care.

Patients who are receiving information about a significant illness or treatment may also have visits, as well as those who would be severely distressed without a visitor.

NHS Lanarkshire has said visiting restrictions are reviewed daily, and will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has also said restrictions are under “close review”, added that they are applied “flexibly and compassionately” with patients considered on a case by case basis.

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