Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Extended Visiting Times In Some Hospitals

16th January 2013

Hospital wards across Scotland are piloting more flexible visiting hours.

Family and friends will be able to visit patients at hospital at times which are convenient to them.

NHS Tayside is one of five health boards to sign up to the pilot, with five wards trialling extended visiting hours of 11am to 8pm at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

The initiative is the first in a series of programmes to be implemented as part of Health Secretary Alex Neils plans to make the NHS more user-friendly.

It is based on feedback received as part of Mr Neils back to the floor visits to hospitals across Scotland, and aims to give patients what they want from their NHS.

Speaking as he visited ward four in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Mr Neil said:This visiting times pilot is the first step towards making our NHS more user friendly and giving patients what they want.

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.

Over the past few months I have been speaking to patients and staff across the country to get a better idea for how they want their NHS to run.

I want to use this feedback to improve the NHS and make it more user friendly. You own the NHS and you should get your say in how you are treated when you are in hospital.

Ward four at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee is a general medicine ward which has recently been refurbished to make it more dementia-friendly.

Visitors to five wards in Ninewells Hospital can now see patients during nine hours of each day, compared to the previous visiting times of 3pm to 8pm.

The trial is running in a number of wards including care of the elderly, acute surgical receiving unit and a neurosurgery ward for three months.

It will then be assessed and NHS Tayside hopes to extend the pilot to other areas within the hospital.

Visiting times in NHS Tayside are already flexible in some areas, including paediatrics, maternity, critical care and coronary care.

Five health boards are participating in the pilot, and each health board will specify their own arrangements.

Dr Margaret McGuire, NHS Tayside Nurse Director said:

NHS Tayside is committed to providing quality person-centred care. Central to this is involving patients, carers and families and responding to issues they raise in a meaningful way. This is why we are testing a more flexible approach to visiting and our test will take account of patient, visitor and staff feedback.

Jean Turner, Chief Executive of Scottish Patients Association said:The Scottish Patients Association was delighted to learn that it is the intention of the Cabinet Secretary to share work from NHS Tayside, Fife, Shetland and Dumfries and Galloway highlighting the importance of a flexible and more open approach to hospital visiting.

This is not only beneficial to patient care but also recognises the stress and financial implications which can be created for families and carers who may have to travel considerable distances, often by public transport. They may also only be free to visit after work and therefore denied visiting a relative due to restricted visiting times.

Theresa Fyffe, RCN Scotland Director said:The RCN has consistently called for more flexible hospital visiting times, so that patients' relatives can become more involved in their care. There are real benefits for patients, if that is what both they and their family want, so we support the announcement today that flexible visiting times are being piloted in a number of hospital wards.

We know from areas such as children's care that having familiar people involved at mealtimes, for example, can make hospital stays in particular less stressful for all concerned. There is also evidence from people with dementia and their families and carers that flexible approaches to hospital visiting are important in improving the quality of care and can help make patients more comfortable.

Ian Welsh, Chief Executive of Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland said:This new approach will be welcomed by people living with dementia and their carers. The hospital environment can be unfamiliar, and sometimes frightening, but enabling family carers to visit and support throughout the day, particularly during mealtimes, will undoubtedly improve the experience for them and their loved one. This open and flexible approach is an excellent example of putting people at the centre of services, focusing on their needs and quality of life.

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland said:Acute hospital care is quite rightly one of main priority areas for Scotlands National Dementia Strategy. Since 2010 there have been significant investments made by the Scottish Government in this area: we now have a new set of National Dementia Standards and a workforce development and training programme in place, Promoting Excellence , as well as a series of other new training resources and materials.

We must now ensure that every NHS Board places the highest priority on using these resources to their full potential, to ensure that every acute hospital delivers a Gold Standard of effective, high quality and safe dementia care.

Alzheimer Scotland fully supports the Scottish Governments decision to adopt a more flexible approach to visiting times.

Health boards piloting more flexible visiting times are:

NHS Tayside

NHS Fife

NHS Forth Valley

NHS Dumfries and Galloway

Golden Jubilee National Hospital