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Scotland pilot flexible visiting times

17th January 2013

Relatives may be able to see family members in hospital at different times of the day in Scotland as wards pilot more flexible visiting hours.

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The initiative is part of wider plans to make the NHS in Scotland more user-friendly.

Five health boards - NHS Tayside, NHS Fife, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Dumfries and Galloway and Golden Jubilee National Hospital – have signed up to the plot scheme.

The move comes out of Health Secretary Alex Neil’s ‘back to the floor’ visits to hospitals across Scotland.

Speaking on a visit to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, which is trialling extended visiting hours of 11am to 8pm, he said: “By making visiting hours fit better with modern day working patterns, it will be easier for family and friends to visit patients, which in many cases will help to speed up recovery, as support from family and friends is a crucial part of the healing process.

“It will also take some of the pressure off staff, as visitors will be spread out more throughout the day, rather than being restricted to a couple of hours.”

Previously at Ninewells, visiting was restricted to 3pm to 8pm.

Each health board is making its own arrangements to change visiting hours with the trials running in a number of wards including care of the elderly, acute surgical receiving unit and a neurosurgery ward for three months.

The move has been welcomed by the Scottish Patients Association and by the Royal College of Nursing, which has consistently called for more flexible hospital visiting times.

 

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