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Due to the ongoing challenges faced with COVID-19, it is sometimes necessary to temporarily restrict visiting. These decisions are made very carefully, and will be kept under close review. 

To help people maintain contact with each other we offer ‘virtual visiting’ (video call) where possible. This service helps patients to keep in touch with their relatives and friends using technology. The technology is available on devices most people have, such as an Apple or Android mobile, laptop or computer. 

All wards have iPads specially set up to enable ‘virtual visits’ (video call). This allows patients to see and talk to the people who matter to them using NHS Near Me/Attend Anywhere.  

Virtual Visiting FAQs

How do I arrange a ‘virtual visit’ (video call)?

If you would like to arrange a ‘virtual visit’ (video call) with a friend or family member in one of our hospitals, please contact the ward directly and ask to speak to the nurse in charge or to the nurse looking after your family member or friend and request a virtual visit call.

A list of telephone numbers can be found for all wards and departments on the NHSGGC website link here

What information do I need to provide for the video call to be set up? 

Please provide the following details:

  • The patient’s full name
  • Ward number or ward name and hospital site
  • Your phone number or email address. 

You will need to ensure you have a webcam and microphone on your device that you can use. Most devices already have this built in.

Is there an alternative to video messaging? 

If you would like to give a text or written message to a patient, please speak to the ward directly and they can pass this on for you. Unfortunately we cannot pass on video messages to patients.

What if I am unable to make contact with the ward to request a Virtual Visit (video call), or pass on a written message?

We would ask in the first instance that you contact the ward directly to arrange a video call or to forward a message to your family member or friend. If you are experiencing any difficulties in contacting the ward directly, then please complete this form and we will make contact with the ward on your behalf to request a video call or to forward your written message.  

Please note form submissions are not reviewed outwith standard office working hours.

What happens if the patient does not have a mobile phone or tablet?

All our inpatient wards have a least one iPad for patients to take part in ‘virtual visits’ (video call) to contact relatives and friends during their stay in hospital. Patients who do not have a mobile phone or tablet of their own are welcome to use a hospital iPad to see and talk to the people who matter to them. 

What happens when a patient needs help to make a ‘virtual visit’ (video call)?

For patients who are unfamiliar with using iPads to set up calls or who are unable to do this independently, staff will always try to facilitate these calls where possible. In addition, the iPads all have a range of communication tools or apps installed, specifically for patients who are deaf, hard of hearing or who speak a language other than English. 

Can I request a ‘virtual visit’ (video call) for a specific time of day?

Where possible ward staff will try to arrange a time to suit you as well as the patient you want to contact. However, due to the extreme pressures staff are under it may not be possible to give an exact time or day when a video call or telephone call can be guaranteed. We are sorry for any distress this may cause and of course, staff will always try to facilitate these calls where possible, however we ask for your understanding while we try to manage under these challenging circumstances.

Is it possible to record the call?

For the majority of situations in our wards it will not be appropriate for you to record the call. For example if there are other people present in shared ward accommodation this would be inappropriate without their consent. If you are unsure, please speak to ward staff first for advice.

Can the hospital iPad or my own device be used to speak to a healthcare chaplain?

Healthcare chaplains are available to offer support and a listening service Monday to Thursday, 9.00am – 5.00pm and at weekends from Friday to Sunday, 9.00am – 10.00pm. If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, please ask a member of ward staff to contact switchboard and ask for the on-call chaplain.  

There may however be some occasions, when a healthcare chaplain cannot see you in person. On these occasions, they will meet with you virtually through the ‘Attend Anywhere’ App on the hospital iPad or on your own device.

What if I am looking for information or a progress update on the care of my family member or friend? 

To obtain an update on the progress and plan of care for a patient you should contact the ward directly and ask to speak to the nurse or doctor looking after them.

Can the Virtual Visiting Service be used to enquire about outpatient appointments or waiting list enquiries?

If your enquiry is not related to ‘virtual visiting’ you should contact either the ward or department you are looking for. A list of telephone numbers can be found for all wards and departments on the NHSGGC website link here.

Providing Feedback

Your feedback and experience of ‘virtual visiting’ is important to us. It helps us learn and improve the service we provide for patients, family and friends to stay in contact. We would be grateful if you could complete our short survey to let us know about your experience using ‘virtual visiting’. Please complete the short survey here.

We may use your feedback for publicity. If you would prefer us not to do so, please advise us in the feedback form.

Additional Information

For Patients:

If you would like to make a ‘virtual visit’ (video call) to your family or friends, please ask to speak to the nurse in charge of the ward or the nurse looking after you to arrange this. The ward staff will also be happy to help you to use your own phone or tablet or the hospital iPad if necessary.

For Family Members:

This guide provides help and guidance if you are not used to using Near Me.

For Staff:

The following documents provide help and guidance to ensure you are familiar with supporting patients and their relatives and friends to receive ‘virtual visit’ (video calls) and how to do this safely and efficiently at all times.

  1. Standard Operating Procedure for Staff and volunteers, for use of the ‘virtual visiting’ iPads.  Please check this regularly as Covid-19 Guidance is updated and new additions are added.
  2. Guide to using vCreate 
  3. Guide to using Communication Support Tools
  4. Guide to having 3 or more people in a virtual visit

If you need additional support or guidance, please email in the first instance.

A report has been developed with information about the setup, maintenance, improvements and evaluation of the Person Centred Virtual Visiting service.

Download the Person Centred Virtual Visiting Report here

We encourage and support people to stay connected to those who matter most in their lives while they are in hospital.

You can find further information and guidance on the following: