NHS Forth Valley have announced the suspension of visiting across its hospitals and inpatient wards effective today.

The move is intended to help limit the spread of Covid-19, also known as coronavirus, and protected patients and ensure the safety of staff.

Prof Angela Wallace, NHS Forth Valley’s director of nursing, said: “We want people to follow the latest national guidance to stay at home however we recognise that there are some exceptional circumstances, including patients who are receiving end-of-life care, where family members may need to be with their loved one.

“These situations will be assessed on an individual basis in discussion with the senior nurse in charge of the ward.

“Our staff are working tirelessly to prepare for an expected rise in COVID-19 cases and we really appreciate the cooperation and support of the local people across Forth Valley to help protect our patients and staff.

“Staff will also work closely with local patients and their families to identify ways of helping them to stay in touch and keep connected during this challenging time.”

Suspended visiting will be applied with the exception of certain arrangements within the maternity unit, neonatal unit and children's ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Visitors will also be permitted to support someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed and also to see a person receiving end-of-life care.

In the maternity unit, one visitor/birthing partner is permitted who must remain within the Maternity Unit at all times.

Only parents are permitted to visit the neonatal unit and children’s ward and they should remain with their baby at all times.

The latest information and advice on coronavirus can be found on www.nhsinform.scot and a free helpline has also been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general coronavirus health advice on 0800 028 2816.