NHS Western Isles is introducing new visiting arrangements at Western Isles Hospital from today (Tuesday September 21).
From now, the maximum number of visits for each inpatient in the hospital is increased from two per week to three per week.
Two named visitors can visit the same inpatient during the same visiting slot, as long as they are from the same household.
Named visitors from different households would have to visit separately.
Visiting will be subject to availability and ward conditions, and dependent on each patient’s individual preferences and wishes. The current arrangements will be subject to ongoing review.
Each visiting slot will be 30 minutes and visiting times have been extended to 1.30pm – 4.30pm and 6pm – 7.30pm.
Visits must be booked in advance via the ward (contact the ward through the hospital switchboard on 01851 704704).
Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway is the only hospital available to meet the needs of the local population on Lewis and Harris and, due to high demand for inpatient beds, we have had to increase the number of beds in patient bays and have not been able to maintain safe physical distancing within ward areas.
Whilst the hospital continues to be extremely busy, and the COVID-19 transmission risk remains where physical distancing is challenging, NHS Western Isles will continue to take steps to mitigate, as far as possible, risks in busy ward areas.
"We would however stress to visitors and patients that transmission risks are ever-present and visitors must risk assess their own visits and ensure that they have taken every possible precaution to protect inpatients - many of whom are at increased risk of more serious illness if they contracted COVID-19.
"This includes careful observance of safety precautions to protect themselves from the risks of contracting COVID-19 prior to visits, carrying out LFD self-tests regularly (and on the day of a visit) and where possible minimising unnecessary contact with others before and between visits."
NHS Western Isles will continue to strictly enforce infection prevention and control requirements for all visitors, including the use of hand sanitizer, wearing clinical face masks provided at the front door (or additional Personal Protective Equipment – PPE on request) and physical distancing in communal areas.
Essential visiting for those inpatients who require more frequent visits will continue to be arranged as required. Essential visits can be arranged for a range of situations including a birth partner supporting a woman during hospital visits; a person receiving end-of-life care; to support someone with a mental health issue; or dementia, a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed; or to accompany a child in hospital.
A detailed information leaflet has been developed with further information on hospital visiting at Western Isles Hospital: