Hospital Visiting

– in the Scottish Parliament on 12th December 2018.

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Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

11. To ask the Scottish Government what authority the national health service has to stop family members visiting a patient in hospital. (S5O-02679)

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

People should normally be able to see the friends and family members who are important to them while they are in hospital. The national health service has authority to prevent family members from visiting someone in hospital when that is the expressed wish of the person, when the family member has been abusive or presents a risk to staff or other patients, or for sound clinical reasons.

Photo of Richard Lyle Richard Lyle Scottish National Party

One of my constituents has been trying to see their daughter in hospital for several months but has been stopped at the entrance to the ward and told that there is an on-going police investigation. They spoke to Police Scotland and were told that there was no investigation. I have written to the local health board about the case. I recognise the limitations of the minister’s response, but I ask her to ask health boards to ensure that the families of patients are treated correctly in future and that information is up to date, as what is happening is causing severe distress to my constituents.

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

As Richard Lyle acknowledged in his question, I am limited in what I can say. I cannot comment on an individual case. I normally expect staff to take such a decision at the request of a patient, but there might be a small number of cases in which a family member is prevented from visiting for other reasons. Health boards should always ensure that patients and their families are treated correctly. If Richard Lyle’s constituent feels that that has not been the case, I encourage them to raise the matter directly with the board.

The Patient Rights (Scotland) Act 2011 provides a right for people to make complaints, raise concerns, make comments and give feedback about the care that they or a family member have received from the NHS, and the patient advice and support service exists to help them. The act also places a duty on NHS boards to thoroughly investigate issues and take improvement actions, where appropriate.