From today, all patients in Glasgow and Lanarkshire hospitals will be allowed one designated visitor, with the exception of those affected by Covid-19.

During the pandemic, an 'essential' visitor has also been permitted for children, patients with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism and those receiving end of life care.

The designated visitor will be a named person chosen by the patient, whcih might be their spouse, next of kin or a friend.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it is recommended that this person is also the main link with hospital staff for communication.

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The designated visitor should not change unless for exception circumstances, for example if they become unwell.

Dr Margaret McGuire, NHSGGC’s Nurse Director, said:“This has been such a difficult time for our patients and their families and we fully recognise the additional emotional burden this has placed on everyone during pandemic.

We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this time.

“From today, we will begin welcoming back visitors, but as I’m sure people will appreciate this won’t be a return to normal just yet.

"The most important elements will be that every visitor must wear a face covering, maintain thorough hand hygiene and remain two metres away – meaning no hand holding or hugging. This is vital to keep everyone safe and to gain access to the ward areas.

“Each patient can also only have one designated visitor during this next phase.

"While we recognise this is still far from ideal, we are pleased that our patients will get to see a loved one after so long.”

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Before visiting our hospital sites, the visitor must firstly speak to the patient’s ward to check a suitable time for a visit. On the first visit they will be given a letter which will give them access on future visits.

Dr McGuire added: “This will obviously place an additional duties on our ward staff and I ask everyone to be patient while this new system beds in.

"Everything we are doing is for the safety and welfare of our patients and I’m sure if we all work together we can make this a success and a pleasant experience for all.”