Hospitals in the Highlands will remain at Level 1 of Covid restrictions despite Scotland’s move to Level 0 today, as staffing pressures continue.
A boss at NHS Highland said while the news would be “disappointing” to many, it was the “safest option” for those working at the hospitals and those being treated there.
The move means that family support from at least two visitors is permitted, and any additional visitors will be at the discretion of individual hospital management.
If those visitors are not from the same family and physical distancing cannot be maintained, the visits can take place separately.
Under Level 0 restrictions, full visiting would be able to return subject to local health protection advice.
Kate Patience-Quate, NHS Highland’s deputy director of nursing, said: “We know that this will be disappointing for many people, however we believe this is the safest option at this time as cases of Covid-19 remain widespread and pressures on the entire health and social care system are at an unprecedented level.
“We hope to move to Level 0 restrictions as soon as we are able to. We appreciate the co-operation of our patients and their loved ones during this time.
“We will monitor and review the visiting guidance on a regular basis.”
Rules for visiting
People who are visiting someone receiving end-of-life care, are accompanying a child, or are a birth partner supporting a woman are all able to visit Highland hospitals.
Those who are supporting someone with a mental health issue, or dementia, or a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed, can also enter hospitals.
Ms Patience-Quate added: “We recognise that there will be exceptional circumstances and we will do everything we can to accommodate patients and their loved ones during this time.
“We would encourage visitors to contact the nurse in charge of the ward their loved one is in before visiting.
“And we would once again remind visitors that face coverings must be worn at all times in the hospital and to follow guidance on hand hygiene.”