Scotland

Coronavirus: Scottish hospital visits to begin again on 13 July

cleaner in hospital Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Only essential visitors have been allowed into hospitals during the coronavirus crisis

Hospitals in Scotland will be able to accept visitors again from 13 July, the health secretary has announced.

Jeane Freeman said patients in non-Covid areas will be able to have a visit from one named visitor.

The visits must be agreed in advance with the ward where the patient is being treated.

Strict social-distancing and hygiene measures will be in place to limit the risk of transmitting the virus.

These include not being able to bring presents such as flowers, food parcels or balloons into the hospital.

Visitors will also need to wear a mask, and must not attend if they have any possible symptoms of the virus.

Hospital areas that have been treating coronavirus patients will continue to only allow essential visitors.

Visitors are currently only able to go into hospitals to see someone at the end of their life, to accompany children or adults with mental health issues, or to support women during childbirth.

Ms Freeman: "I know how difficult it has been for people not being able to visit loved ones in hospital during the pandemic.

"It is one of the many sacrifices you have made and I want to thank you for that.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the change in guidance

"Visiting has important benefits for patients health and wellbeing and I hope families across Scotland who have a loved one in hospital right now will welcome this announcement."

The latest figures showed that there were a total of 885 patients with either confirmed or suspected cases of the virus in Scottish hospitals, including 19 in intensive care units.

Chief Nursing Officer Fiona McQueen stressed that it will be some time yet before hospitals get back to normal, and that staff will continue to wear protective equipment.

But she said hospitals had learned how to live with the virus over the past 100 days of lockdown.

The government has previously announced that residents of care homes which have been free of coronavirus for at least 28 days will be able to have a single named visitor from 3 July.

These visits will need to be outdoors with proper physical distancing and face masks.