'Essential only' visiting in place at Raigmore Hospital and New Craigs Hospital in Inverness
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NHS Highland has restricted all visiting at Raigmore Hospital and New Craigs Hospital in Inverness to "essential only" to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19 to patients and staff.
A spokesman for the health board said: "We have seen a number of wards in both hospitals closed over the last few weeks due to the unprecedented increase in Covid-19 cases in our board area.
"We have three wards closed at Raigmore Hospital [4A, 4C, 6C] and ward 7A has reopened today following a prolonged period of closure. We have also closed Morlich/Maree ward at New Craigs."
NHS Highland’s medical director Dr Boyd Peters said: “These ward closures have had a knock-on effect on our bed capacity and increasing levels of Covid-19 transmission in our communities has significantly impacted on our staffing levels.
“We have not reached this decision lightly and recognise that this could cause a great deal of concern and anxiety for patients and their loved ones during this time. These measures will be reviewed on a regular basis.
“However, we believe the move to essential visiting across both hospitals will help us reduce the spread of Covid-19 and maximise our ability to safely staff our wards and improve bed capacity over the bank holiday weekend and beyond.
“If your visit is essential, please contact the ward your relative or loved one is in, and the staff will support you with arrangements. Please do not visit the hospital if you or anyone else in your household has tested positive for Covid-19 or has any symptoms.
“We are learning more about the Omicron variant every day and national guidance has been updated to introduce additional protections to help keep our hospitals safe. Whenever you visit a loved one in hospital, you should take a lateral flow test and only visit if you return a negative result.
“We are grateful to the public for your ongoing co-operation and understanding. If you are visiting the hospital, please ensure that you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you go onto the ward/department and as you leave the hospital.”