Belford and other rural general hospitals move to level one visiting

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NHS Highland bosses have now moved rural general hospitals such as the Belford in Fort William to level one visiting rules.

This means up to two visitors are able to visit patients at the  Belford Hospital, Lorn and Isles Hospital in Oban, Caithness General Hospital, and New Craigs Hospital in Inverness.

Raigmore Hospital in Inverness remains at essential visiting only. This will be reviewed on Monday (January 17).

Katherine Sutton, NHS Highland’s Chief Officer (Acute), said: ‘The importance of visiting within hospitals cannot be overstated, bringing comfort to both those receiving visitors and to those visiting. It is a fundamental part of the care of a patient in hospital.

‘We know just how difficult it is for everyone involved when visiting restrictions are put in place and I am pleased that we have been able to move these hospitals back to level one visiting.

‘I must stress, however, that the risk of Covid cannot be ignored. We are taking a cautious approach with this and ask that visitors should still liaise with the ward to ensure arrangements are agreed before they come in to visit.

‘We would also ask, as per national guidance, that visitors take an LFD test before coming into any of our hospitals and only visit if the test is negative. Please do not visit the hospital if you or anyone else in your household has tested positive for Covid-19 or has any symptoms.’

Mrs Sutton added: ‘Raigmore Hospital remains at essential visiting only but we will review that later this week. If your visit is essential, please contact the hospital ward your relative or loved one is in, and the staff will support you with making arrangements to visit safely.

‘We are grateful to the public for your ongoing cooperation and understanding. If you are visiting the hospital please ensure that you wear a face mask and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you go onto the ward/department and as you leave the hospital.’