HOSPITAL visits across Forth Valley will been suspended – with some limited exceptions – to protect patients and staff from coronavirus.

NHS Forth Valley announced the decision on Wednesday, November 4, and it will come into effect the following day on Thursday, November 5.

The exceptions to the visitation ban include visits to patients receiving end-of-life care, to patients with mental health issues (including dementia, learning disabilities and autism), and visits to support a child or baby in hospital.

There is also an exception for those accompanying pregnant women to scans and antenatal appointments, and provide support during and after labour.

Ward staff have been proactively contacting people classed as designated visitors to advise them of the changes.

Professor Angela Wallace, NHS Forth Valley’s nurse director, said: “With rising levels of Covid-19 within our local communities we have made this move to help reduce the risk of transmission within our hospitals, protect patients and staff and manage the increasing pressure on our hospitals which are currently very busy.

“I understand that not being able to visit a loved one while they are in hospital will be upsetting for many people.

“However, I would like to assure people that this decision has not been taken lightly and we hope local patients and families understand the reasons behind this difficult decision and work with us to support these new arrangements.

“We will also continue to offer virtual visiting for patients using telephones, iPads and laptops to help people keep in touch with their loved ones.”

An NHS Forth Valley release added: “Clinical staff will aim to be as flexible and compassionate as possible to support visiting in circumstances where it is safe and appropriate to do so.”

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