NHS Ayrshire and Arran (Hospital Visits)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 16th December 2021.

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Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

NHS Ayrshire and Arran has suspended all but what it deems essential hospital visits, such as for those nearing the end of life or with a terminal illness diagnosis. That is despite the First Minister’s statement on Tuesday that it is really important that visiting goes ahead, albeit with a sensible limit of two visitors per patient.

No attempt is being made to ascertain the Covid status of visitors, and the confused situation is causing a lot of upset to my constituents and people across Ayrshire. What steps will the First Minister take to ensure that patients in Ayrshire will be able to receive visitors this Christmas?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

We have been made aware of NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s decision. I can advise Kenny Gibson that officials have been in discussion with the health board this morning. I appreciate that these are exceptionally difficult circumstances for health boards, but we have been very clear about our expectations around visiting, which are as I set out in my statement and in response to questions on Tuesday.

Scottish Government officials have been assured by NHS Ayrshire and Arran that the decision will be urgently reviewed and that the board is very mindful of the need to ensure that no one is isolated in hospital over Christmas. We are being assured that the board is supporting all essential visiting.

Obviously, a person’s Covid status is really important, and we all need to be aware of that. I take the opportunity to remind everyone who is visiting a loved one in hospital that it is vital to take a lateral flow test ahead of every visit.