NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will reinstate visiting restrictions in some areas at two hospitals amidst a rise in Covid cases.
The health board has announced that nightingale wards at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) and shared accommodation in adult acute wards in the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) will move to essential visiting only.
The temporary changes will come into effect from midnight on Wednesday, March 16.
Setting out their decision, the board explained that those wards are open environments where social distancing between family members, patients and staff, as well as other mitigations against Covid, are more difficult to observe.
In all other adult inpatient wards, including shared accommodation on every other side, single rooms, mental health, and community and outpatient clinics, people can have support from one visitor at a time, the board has indicated.
Meanwhile, women on the maternity pathway can have the support of one birth partner and one additional person throughout all outpatient and scan appointments, labour, birth and in inpatient wards.
The board has explained that the exception to this is in wards where there is an active outbreak of Covid-19, with visiting temporarily restricted to essential visiting only until the situation is resolved in such instances.
Staff will take as “flexible, person-centred and compassionate approach as possible” in applying the essential visiting guidance, NHS GGC have outlined.
Jennifer Rodgers, deputy nurse director at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, described the move as a “tough but necessary decision”.
“There are currently more than 650 patients with Covid-19 in our hospitals with a diagnosis of 28 days or less,” she said.
“This is having a huge impact on ward and bed closures, patients and staff, and we need to move now to try to limit further spread of the virus amongst people in hospital, who are more vulnerable than the general population.
“Moving some wards to essential visiting only has been a tough but necessary decision.
“We recognise how difficult this is for our patients and the people that matter most to them and we will keep this under close review so that we can return to person centred visiting as soon as possible.”
Rodgers added: “If you plan on visiting a relative at one of the hospitals affected but you are unsure of what visiting guidelines apply, please either call the ward or go to our website where you will find more information.
“We also strongly recommend that you have a negative Voluntary Lateral Flow Test a maximum of 24 hours prior to visiting and the closer to your visit, the better.
“We would also remind all visitors that face masks must be worn unless exempt, and social distancing must continue to be observed where possible.”