Home > Your Health > COVID-19 > Patients, Hospital Appointments and Visiting

Patients, Hospital Appointments and Visiting

Scottish Government general guidance

Before coming to hospital, you may be asked to self-isolate for a period to ensure you are Covid free on the day. Further information and current guidance is available on the Scottish Government website:

Inpatients to benefit from the support of one visitor

From Tuesday 25 January, temporary essential visiting restrictions will be lifted and adult inpatients across NHSGGC hospitals will be able to benefit from the support of one visitor per day in most circumstances.

The change includes all adult inpatient wards, including mental health. The visitor can change each day.

Additionally, all maternity wards will now be able to support two visitors – one essential, and one additional person. Visits must be arranged in advance with the ward to enable us all to follow physical distancing rules.

In wards where a COVID-19 outbreak is being managed, essential visiting may be reintroduced on a temporary basis to help protect staff, patients and visitors until the situation can be resolved.

This easing of visiting restrictions follows a decrease in the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community and is in line with a national easing of restrictions as outlined by the Scottish Government last week.

Visitors planning on making a trip to hospital to visit an inpatient are reminded of the following safety measures which remain in place:

  1. Please consider the additional potential risk visiting may bring to patients, family members and staff, when deciding whether to visit
  2. Before you visit please undertake a Lateral Flow Test to help ensure you do not have COVID-19
  3. Unless exempt, you must continue to wear a face mask throughout your visit.
  4. Please use hand gel on arrival, departure and when you come into contact with surfaces during your visit.
  5. Maintain a physical distance of two metres wherever possible
  6. Do not visit if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you are isolating due to contact with a person with COVID-19 unless in specific and limited situations such as end of life care.

Jennifer Rodgers, Deputy Nurse Director at NHSGGC, said: “We know how important it is for patients to be able to receive the support of at least one visitor per day. The move to essential visiting was only ever temporary and in light of the reducing impact of Omicron in the community and on our hospitals, we’ve worked as quickly as possible to enable the change which will come into effect.

“While the news is welcomed, we would still urge caution and advise all visitors to ensure they’re familiar with the safety guidelines in place to help minimise any potential spread of the virus. These guidelines are available to view on the NHSGGC website under the visiting pages.”

Angela O’Neill, Deputy Nurse Director at NHSGGC, added: “We would like to thank our patients and the public for their patience and understanding during this difficult and challenging time. We continue to monitor the situation and where it’s safe and appropriate to do so, we will look to further ease visiting restrictions as we work towards moving back to full person centred visiting.”

COVID-19 updates and information in other languages

Guidance and safety measures in place across all NHSGGC wards

1. Flexibility and compassion

This guidance will be applied with as much flexibility and compassion as possible. Staff will consider each patient’s needs on an individual basis.

Carers, those providing essential care or emotional support, or spiritual care are not considered visitors for the purposes of this guidance so should continue to be permitted to attend a patient in hospital, including in areas where essential visits only are in place.

2. Informed decision making

Please remind patients and families of the risks of visiting of potential spread of COVID-19, and support patients and family members to weigh up the benefits of their visit against the potential risk that they may post, and consider if a virtual visit may be a safer alternative.

3. Lateral Flow Device Testing

We ask in the strongest possible way that you have a negative lateral flow test a maximum of 24 hours prior to your visit – the nearer to the visit the better.

4. Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks

All family members should wear a Fluid Resistant Surgical Mask (not a face covering) for the duration of their visit in a hospital building, unless exempt. If you do not have a Fluid Resistant Surgical Mask, we can provide you with one.

5. Person Centred Virtual Visiting

Where in-person support is not possible for any reason, a patient will be supported to use the hospital iPad or their own personal mobile or tablet to maintain contact with the people who matter to them. 

Further information about Person Centred Virtual Visiting is available on the NHSGGC website

Visiting Information Leaflet

Download the hospital visiting information leaflet

This updated leaflet provides visitors and patients with information about how hospital visiting will be managed at this time.

The leaflet is also available in the following languages:

What you need to know when visiting someone in hospital

We welcome support from family and friends in hospital. We know your support is vital to patients, not least with nutrition, healing, recovery and overall quality of care. We also need to make sure our patients, families and staff are as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, so visiting needs to continue to be carefully managed at this time.

What do I need to know before visiting?
  • There may be some circumstances where it is not safe for a patient to have a visitor. If this is the case, we will tell you why and keep it under review where possible
  • All arrangements MUST be made through the nurse in charge of the ward before visiting
  • If you are chosen to visit, please contact the ward to arrange a visit in advance. It is important that we continue to limit the number of people present in the ward at any one time. To help manage this there are maximum numbers of people permitted in a room at any one time to ensure we can all follow physical distancing rules. A list of telephone numbers can be found for all wards and departments here
  • To help keep everyone safe, we strongly recommend that all visitors have a Voluntary Lateral Flow Test prior to visiting and then undertake this twice per week for as long as you are a named visitor. Information on how to order Lateral Flow Tests is on the Scottish Government’s website or tests can be collected from COVID testing centres in the afternoon or early evening or from the asymptomatic test facilities across NHSGGC can be found here. You must not visit if the result of your lateral flow test is positive, or if you have symptoms COVID-19 or have been told by Test and protect that you are a contact of a case (even if the result of your lateral flow test is negative).
  • When visiting the hospital please do not bring additional family and friends with you unless you are a carer accompanying a family member or a parent accompanying a child
  • Children are welcome to be this visitor, but again please discuss with ward staff first, as there are times when it may not be safe to do so.
Are there times when I can’t visit?

If you wish to visit, you must speak with ward staff first to make sure it is safe for you to do so. If it is not safe, we will explain why.

You MUST NOT attend if you are unwell or a household contact or have been otherwise informed that you are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and have been advised to self-isolate or have to self-isolate for another reason (e.g. travel from a country requiring quarantine)

You must not visit if you have a persistent cough, loss of taste or smell, flu like symptoms, or fever.

What should I do when I visit?
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser when entering and leaving clinical areas 
  • Wear a face covering/mask at all times, unless you are exempt from this 
  • Respect physical distancing measures at all times 
  • Take the stairs if possible to avoid congregating in lifts lobbies and communal areas 
  • Use the public toilet facilities provided. Access to toilet facilities on the ward is not permitted 
  • Avoid going to the hospital canteen. If you wish to purchase food and refreshments these should be purchased from the retail outlets on the hospital site
  • On your arrival at the ward and every time you visit the ward, staff will check that you are well and ask you some questions about your health to make sure it is safe for you to visit. They will ask you the following questions: 
    • Are you feeling unwell? 
    • Do you have new/continuous cough? 
    • Have you had any sickness or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours? 
    • Have you noticed a change in your temperature? 
    • Have you noticed a change in your normal sense of taste or smell? 
    • Are you self-isolating because you have been in contact with anyone suspected as having, or has tested positive for COVID-19, in the past 14 days. 

You will not be allowed to visit if you do not pass this safety check. However there may be exemptions for example, if the person is a contact and is exempt from isolation (fully vaccinated, no symptoms, negative PCR) and the visit is essential and agreed to by staff.

The ward staff will ask all visitors to provide contact details. This is normal in the current circumstances to assist Public Health, Test and Protect colleagues should there be a need to contact you.

Your contact information will be used for Trace and Protect purposes only and will be securely destroyed once the information is no longer required. 

Can I visit during mealtimes?

We recognise that eating is a social occasion and the presence of family, friends and carers can all play an important role in encouraging patients with small appetites to eat a little bit more. Please consider this when deciding the best times to visit.

What are the visiting arrangements in outpatient clinics in hospital and community settings?

Patients in outpatient clinics should be able to have support from the people who matter to them. However, sometimes it may be necessary to limit the numbers of people who can be present in outpatient clinics at any one time, so physical distancing rules can be followed. If you or someone you know needs support at an outpatient appointment, if possible please contact us using the details in your appointment letter to arrange this.