PATIENTS in hospitals across Forth Valley will now be able to have a visitor to provide support in line with the easing of national restrictions across Scotland.

The Scottish Government has published new guidance to support the implementation of the extension to visiting arrangements and additional information can also be found on the NHS Forth Valley website.

One family member or friend can be identified by a patient or their guardian, carer or power of attorney to visit. They should then contact the ward to arrange a visit in advance, to help avoid overcrowding and main physical distancing.

It is recognised that family and friends play an important role in supporting patients in hospital and arrangements for essential visiting have been in place throughout lockdown.

These extended visiting arrangements are designed to help keep patients, families and staff are as safe as possible during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

There may, however, be some circumstances where it is not safe for a patient to have a visitor and if this is the case, a member of staff will explain why visiting is not possible at that time.

To help keep everyone safe, visitors are encouraged to have a voluntary Lateral Flow Test prior to visiting and then undertake these tests twice per week for as long as they are the named visitor.

Rapid Lateral Flow tests are now available to everyone in Scotland and can be ordered online or collected from Covid-19 community test centres in the afternoon or early evening.

This is an optional additional safety measure and is not mandatory in order to visit.

Visitors are asked not to bring additional family and friends with them unless they are a carer accompanying a family member or a parent accompanying a child.

Visitors must take certain precautions before visiting, including using hand sanitiser when entering and leaving clinical areas, wearing a face covering at all times and always maintain physical distancing.

For those who are unable to visit in person, virtual calls are still available.

Visit for more information.