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New visiting arrangements are now in place in all hospitals in the Western Isles.

These are to help protect local hospital services and to prevent the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to inpatients and staff as a result of the current risks associated with the high rate of transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 across Scotland.

NHS Western Isles has reluctantly taken the decision to introduce temporary new restrictions in all hospitals in the Western Isles from today (14th December 2021).

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and follows both a predicted surge nationally in cases of COVID-19 and a small number of cases of COVID-19 now identified in Western Isles Hospital, which has led to restricted admissions.  

“We appreciate how disappointing these restrictions will be for members of our community.

"However, safety, and being able to deliver services, is imperative and we must protect our inpatients and staff, as well as our NHS services in the Western Isles. We will keep the situation under constant review and will update the community as required. We appreciate your understanding in this important safety measure.”   

These changes are applicable to Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, Uist & Barra Hospital in Benbecula, and St Brendan’s Hospital in Barra.  

Hospital Dining Rooms are also closed until further notice to members of the public (dining rooms will only be open to NHS staff until further notice).  

Until further notice, visiting will be restricted to Essential Visits only.

Those who require Essential Visits are those at End of Life; birth partners; children; patients with acute mental health issues; and those with dementia, learning disabilities or autism.

Essential Visitors may visit more than once a day if required, and there is no restriction on the number of Essential Visitors for each inpatient, although they must be immediate family members. Essential visitors must also pre-book visiting slots.  

Essential Visitors are requested to self-test using Lateral Flow Devices (LFDs) on a daily basis (and in particular before visiting the hospital) and are urged to carefully observe safety precautions before and between visits to protect themselves from the risks of contracting COVID-19 prior to visits.

If symptomatic, you should not visit the hospital, and you should arrange a PCR laboratory test (01851 601151) even if you tested negative on an LFD test.