New visiting restrictions will come into force at three hospitals across Tayside on Monday.
The health board said its clinical and public health teams made the “difficult decision” in order to curb the spread of coronavirus and protect vulnerable patients.
All wards at Perth Royal Infirmary will be restricted to visitors, along with all adult wards at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The surgical unit wards at Strathcaro Hospital near Brechin have also been restricted.
Claire Pearce, NHS Tayside’s director of nursing and midwifery, 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 is distressing for many people.
“However it is vital that we keep our patients, staff and the public safe. We hope everyone understands that we have made this difficult decision for these reasons.”
Four wards across Tayside already have restricted visiting due to outbreaks of Covid-19.
The health board said the virus is “circulating widely in the community”, with the current incidence rate within Dundee higher than some of the local authorities in the central belt that are under enhanced restrictions.
NHS Tayside said there are almost 50 patients with confirmed coronavirus in its hospitals, along with a number of suspected cases.
Despite the restrictions, visiting can continue in specific circumstances, for example for patients receiving end-of-life care.
The public can continue to visit:
- Tayside Children’s Hospital.
- Maternity and neonatal wards. Partners can continue to attend for births, scans and antenatal appointments.
- Mental health facilities, including Carseview Centre.
- Community hospitals.
Anyone with a question about visiting should contact the senior charge nurse in the ward to discuss their individual situation.
Ms Pearce added: “In order to manage the number of patients with the virus, we are using our three acute hospitals flexibly with patients and staff moving between the sites.
“This means that we must restrict visiting in all three sites to help further reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals each day and help limit the spread of coronavirus.
“We will continue to offer virtual visiting for patients using telephones, tablets and laptops to allow people to keep in touch with their loved ones.”
Meanwhile, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is calling on the public to heed current guidelines to minimise the number of new hospital admissions following a surge in coronavirus case numbers.
There are currently more than 500 patients in hospital across the region with the virus.
The health board has now implemented red, amber and green patient pathways across its sites to separate Covid from non-Covid patients to minimise the spread of the virus.
There are currently 20 red wards which are exclusively treating patients with Covid-19.
Dr Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for acute services at NHSGGC, said: “Numbers are continuing to rise across Scotland, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been the worst affected region in the country.
“It is absolutely critical the public follows the guidelines to ensure that our staff are able to continue effectively managing and treating both Covid and non-Covid patients.
“During this time we are maintaining a programme of elective surgery but this also means that we are currently looking after more patients than ever before, so while the numbers of Covid-19 patients may not yet have reached March’s peak levels, there is as much pressure on our staff across services.
“We would like to remind the public of the current policies in relation to using health services, as minimising unnecessary footfall plays a huge role in preventing the spread of the virus, and allows our staff to focus on delivering the best care possible.”
Health service guidance
- Attend hospital appointments alone unless you fall into one of the specific support categories.
- Please only use emergency departments in an emergency.
- Community assessment centres are there to provide support to those with Covid-19 symptoms.
- Community health practices and pharmacies are still available alongside out-of-hours services, which you can access by calling 111.
F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport.
A – Avoid crowded places.
C – Clean your hands frequently, using water and soap whenever possible.
T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.
S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.
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