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NHS Western Isles is introducing new visiting arrangements in hospitals across the Western Isles, from today (May 23).  

The new arrangements mean that inpatients will be permitted one daily visit from any two visitors whilst in hospital.  

The visitors no longer have to be designated for the duration of a patient’s stay, so patients can now have different visitors on different days.  

There is no longer a requirement for visitors to be from the same household.  

Exceptions to the above arrangements include: 

  • Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19/in COVID Wards will normally be permitted one Designated Visitor a day (subject to change, depending on ward conditions at the time). 
  • Patients in a ward or area with a COVID outbreak will normally be permitted one Designated Visitor a day (subject to change, depending on ward conditions at the time). 

All visits must continue to be booked in advance.  

Each visiting slot will be 30 minutes and visiting times are 1.30pm – 4.30pm and 6pm – 7.30pm. 

In addition to the above, Essential Visiting for those inpatients who require more frequent visits will continue to be arranged as required, without restrictions on the number of visits or visitors (subject to ward conditions and availability). 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. 

All visits (including Essential Visits) must be booked in advance by contacting the hospital switchboard on 01851 704704.  

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.   

We would stress to visitors and patients that transmission risks are ever-present and all 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 taking steps before and between visits to protect themselves from the risks of contracting COVID-19, and where possible minimising unnecessary contact with others before and between visits. We also request in the strongest possible terms that visitors self-test with a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before each visit. 

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, unless you are medically exempt (or additional Personal Protective Equipment – PPE on request), and physical distancing in communal areas. 

A detailed information leaflet has been developed with further information on hospital visiting at Western Isles Hospital.