NHS Dumfries & Galloway

COVID-19

This landing page has been designed to give our community of Dumfries and Galloway a place to source up-to-date and accurate information about what is happening in the region in relation to the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

As with any major incident, a joint Command Team has been set up across all of our Health & Social Care partners and Emergency Services, and these pages will give regular updates and sign post people to the latest national updates. This coordinated approach is standard practice and the teams involved are working hard to ensure we have a smooth process in place to deal with any suspected cases.

We ask our community to help share awareness of these pages and ensure that you check regularly the key messages and status updates around what to do.

Keep you and your community safe

The COVID-19 virus is still circulating in communities across Scotland. However, there are things you can do to reduce the spread of the virus. This will help protect you, your loved ones and your community.

Things You Can Do To Protect Yourself And Your Family

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in droplets that come from people’s breath, coughs and sneezes.  The closer you are to other people, the easier it is for the virus to spread between you.  Keep a safe distance from people who do not live with you – one metre is good, two metres is better.

Be careful when meeting people from other households. Try to meet outdoors. Meeting indoors is more risky. Reduce this risk by trying to wear a mask, sanitise hands frequently and stay at least 2 metres apart. Open windows and doors to keep rooms well-aired. 

Things You Can Do To Protect Your Community

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, do not go to work or school or any place where people gather in case you pass the virus onto them. Stay at home along with the rest of your household and book a test on NHS Inform – https://www.nhsinform.scot.

Some people who have the virus do not show any obvious symptoms and can spread the virus to other people without knowing. If you take a COVID-19 test at least twice a week it will help detect these cases early, and so will reduce the spread of the virus to other people.

There are lots of ways to get tested for COVID-19: Visit the webpage www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing for more details.

If you or a household member test positive for COVID-19 you can stop the virus spreading to other people by isolating with your household for 10 days. This means staying in your own home and garden, having groceries delivered, and only leaving home for urgent medical care. NHS Inform provides clear advice on self-isolation. There is also financial and practical help to support you to isolate – see https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk for details.

Things You Can Do To Protect Everyone

Getting vaccinated reduces the risk that you become so ill that you need to go to hospital, as well as the risk of dying from COVID-19. It also reduces the chance of you passing the virus onto the people around you. Both doses of vaccine will give you the maximum protection possible. The more people that are vaccinated in communities, the harder it is for the virus to pass between families, friends and neighbours.

Although we can travel more freely now across Scotland, the less we travel, the less the virus can move across the country. Please think carefully if you are travelling to other areas and take the precautions outlined above to help reduce transmission of the virus.  

Visiting during the Covid Pandemic in NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

Why allow visiting?

Visiting within hospitals brings comfort to both those receiving visitors and to those visiting. Visitors can also support the clinical staff in providing good care and discharge planning.

Visiting is also known to have a positive effect on nutrition, healing and recovery, along with improvements in patient safety, patient and family experience and staff experience. Therefore visiting is considered a fundamental to the care of a person in hospital and also a fundamental human right to family life. Thus there is a need to balance risks and these basic rights.

Changes to hospital in-patient visiting as of 26th April 2021

Arrangements for hospital in-patient visiting are changing in Scotland as of Monday 26th April 2021. 

‘Family support’ should be a fundamental part of the care of a person in hospital and not optional, recognising that the person an individual might want to support them in hospital could be a friend, carer or neighbour, and may not always be a relative.  

From 26th April 2021, every patient in hospital in Scotland will be able to benefit from support and contact with at least one person, regardless of which level in the national COVID-19 strategic framework the hospital is in.  

All arrangements for in-patient visiting must first be made by speaking to the charge nurse for the respective ward.  

To reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission, careful attention must be paid ensuring that visitors to hospital in-patients comply with infection prevention and control measures.

Key among these will continue to be frequent handwashing and the use of alcohol-based hand rub, wearing face coverings, and adherence to physical distancing in communal areas.  

In addition voluntary ‘lateral flow testing’ can be an important part of a multi-layer approach to protecting patients, staff and visitors. When patients’ loved ones make arrangements to visit, clinical care teams may point out to them that optional testing can be a valuable way to promote safety and encourage them to test if they wish. Information on how to order tests is on the Scottish Government’s website or tests can be collected from COVID testing centres.

It is important to note that testing is not mandatory and for those visiting hospital in-patients not wishing or not being able to test will not be an obstacle to a visit.  

The person providing support can be changed 

As of 26th April, a designated visitor, or named person, can be changed over the duration of a patient’s stay in hospital. However, any such changes should be reasonable and agreed with staff at their discretion, taking account of what is best for the patient, and considering others (relatives, carers, staff) involved with their care.

‘Virtual visiting’  

Where in-person support is not possible for any reason, a patient may be offered other alternatives such as person-centred ‘virtual visiting’ using tablets or mobiles. ​Staff will advise patients and their relatives / carers accordingly.

For full details on Scottish Government guidance on visiting arrangements from 5 June 2021, please click the following link:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-hospital-visiting-guidance/

Anyone with arrangements made for visiting a hospital is asked not to if experiencing symptoms of flu, COVID, or if feeling generally unwell.  These measures are in the interests of the safety of patients and staff.

As is always the case, anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of coronavirus is asked to self-isolate and immediately seek testing.  Symptoms of COVID-19 are: 

  • Increased temperature 
  • Continuous cough 
  • Change to or loss of sense of taste and smell 

Appointments via mobile testing units can be made each day from 9.30 am by logging on to the following website: https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test 

Scottish test figures – Updated 2pm every day

World Health Organisation Global updates 

Dumfries & Galloway Information

The below information is updated weekly:
Last update – 15 September 2021

  • As at 2pm on 15 September 2021, there have been 154 deaths in the region (either within a hospital setting or within the community) in which coronavirus was either the primary cause of death or a factor potentially contributing to death. 
  • The number of positive cases in Dumfries and Galloway is 9,767. 
  • The number of COVID-19  patients discharged from hospital is 492.

Click here for the latest travel information on the NHS Fit for Travel website.

More information can be found on the Scottish Government Travel Advice: Coronavirus

Click here for the Covid 19 Privacy Notice

Latest Key Messages

Vaccination against COVID-19 is ramping up in Dumfries and Galloway, with those aged over 80 in line to receive their first jab before the end of January.

Read more


The first doses of the newly-approved Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine were delivered to NHS Dumfries and Galloway on December 29 – setting the scene to rapidly scale up the vaccine delivery programme.

Cases of COVID-19 have multiplied dramatically in Dumfries and Galloway – placing the region near the top of national daily figures.

In the week ending January 3 a total of 801 new, positive cases of the coronavirus were identified in the region, up from 122 the week before.

Read more

The new variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Dumfries and Galloway, and is suspected to be playing a role in a rise in cases across the region. This is the biggest increase in COVID-19 cases we have seen in the region since the start of the global pandemic.

There has been an exceptionally rapid increase in Wigtownshire and Stranraer since the start of December, and notably a recent rise in Annandale and Eskdale.

There are currently 463 new cases in Dumfries and Galloway since 24th December of which 288 are in Wigtownshire, and 101 are in Annandale and Eskdale. Potentially any part of the region could see a rise in cases at a similar pace if we do not exercise extreme caution as we go about our lives at work and at home.

While COVID-19 was already a highly transmissible virus which required significant precautions, the new variant is understood to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible, and is responsible for the rapid escalation in cases in south east England and in south Wales.

Read more

Cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Wigtownshire have increased significantly in the past few days.

The more highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant has been identified as being a part of this outbreak of which the latest figures for the locality now stands at 221 positive cases since 9th December, which is an increase of 171 since 24th December.

This includes the single biggest increase in COVID cases seen in one area of Dumfries and Galloway since the start of the global pandemic. Meanwhile, there is also concern around cases in lower Annandale where the new B.1.1.7 variant has also been identified.

Cases of COVID-19 linked to an outbreak in Wigtownshire have more than doubled in just the last two days.

The more highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant has been identified as being a part of this outbreak, which has grown from from 64 cases as of Boxing Day to now stand at 142 – an increase of 78.

This includes the single biggest increase in COVID cases seen in one area of Dumfries and Galloway since the start of the global pandemic – with an increase of 55 positive cases as a result of 154 tests carried out yesterday in the town of Stranraer.

Meanwhile, there is also concern around a growing number of cases in lower Annandale where the new B.1.1.7 variant has also been identified.

Additional testing is now being put in place daily over the next week in Stranraer, from December 29 to January 4.

Meanwhile, an appeal is being issued for people not just follow all the new Level 4 restrictions, but where possible to go beyond them – trying to stay at home as much as possible and help limit the spread, both locally and potentially to other parts of the region.

Read more

A new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19 has been identified in Dumfries and Galloway – associated with an outbreak of cases in Wigtownshire.

Caution is being urged due to the fact that this is a more transmissible variant of the virus, and that it has been identified just before an easing of restrictions for Christmas Day.

Valerie White is Interim Director of Public Health in Dumfries and Galloway, and she said: “The presence of the new strain has been identified following further work by Public Health Scotland, who are undertaking additional investigation of cases of coronavirus infection across Scotland

“A further second case of the new strain has been identified in the lower Annandale area.

“This is obviously very concerning news, and comes as we have been closely monitoring the situation nationally with respect to this new B.1.1.7 strain.

“We have learned of the presence of the new strain today, and have acted quickly to make people aware of this discovery.

“Caution had already been advised ahead of the easing of restrictions for Christmas Day tomorrow. We do not want to cause any undue concern, but due to the increased risk of transmission that this strain is understood to pose feel it is important that people are made aware to enable them to factor this information into their arrangements – not just tomorrow but over coming days.

“More information will be provided in due course, as and when it becomes available.”

An increase was recorded in the number of new, additional cases of COVID-19 identified in the region last week – raising concerns in the approach to Christmas.

A total of 48 new positive cases were identified in the week ending December 20, up from 27 in the week before.

Similarly, the number of close contacts who were identified and advised to self-isolate also increased – nearly doubling from 128 in the previous week to stand at 250.

People are encouraged to follow national rules, to consider advice and to use judgement in the run-up to Christmas and New Year – when an increased risk of transmission has been identified.

A total of 3142 COVID-19 tests were carried out last week, down from 3359 the week before.

The locally calculated positivity rate for Dumfries and Galloway is estimated at around 2.2% – up from 1.1% in the previous week.

Positive COVID-19 cases are present across all four locality areas in Dumfries and Galloway, and there is evidence of community transmission across the region.

There is also evidence that people identified as close contacts of cases are developing COVID-19.

Areas including Wigtownshire and Upper Nithsdale in particular are continuing to see rising case numbers. But across the region must be vigilant and anyone experiencing symptoms (even if these are mild) is urged to immediately self-isolate and arrange a test.

Meanwhile, everyone is encouraged to follow the FACTS guidance around wearing of face coverings, maintaining hand hygiene, and physical distance and social interaction, and to have a safe and peaceful Christmas.

A mass campaign of COVID vaccination in Dumfries and Galloway is on course to see older adult care home residents and staff receive their second jab by January 16.  

Delivery of the first of two jabs is set to have been provided in all older adult care homes in the region by Christmas Eve, this Thursday December 24.  

Immunity begins to develop following the first dose, but is fully established seven days after the second. The current schedule would mean that the fullest degree of protection would be in place for these groups by January 23 at the very latest.  

Read more

A VERY speedy response has followed the detection of COVID cases associated with Galloway Community Hospital in Stranraer. 

Rapid testing of patients and staff along with a deep clean within the hospital has provided a greater understanding of the situation, and a measure of assurance. 

A total of 5 positive cases of COVID have been confirmed across staffing and patients. 

This comes as cases continue to be detected within the local community – with new cases continuing to emerge across all four of the region’s localities: Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewartry and Wigtownshire. 

Garrick and Dalrymple are the two wards at Galloway Community Hospital. Yesterday, Garrick was closed to new admissions and routine in-patient visiting. Today, routine in-patient visiting at Dalrymple has also been suspended as a precaution, with the same exceptions for end of life, birth partners, children, and patients with mental health issues, dementia, learning disabilities and autism. 

This precedes the suspension of non-essential inpatient visiting on December 26 as part of mainland Scotland’s move into Level 4 on the national COVID protection framework. 

It is possible that some services at GCH may be affected by the actions which are being undertaken, and anyone impacted by that will be contacted directly. 

Amid ongoing cases of COVID within the local community, a reminder is issued of the very great importance of following current rules and guidance. 

FACTS guidance sets out that people need to follow directions around use of face coverings, around maintaining good hand hygiene, and around physical distancing and social interaction.  

Is it also vitally important that anyone who believes they may be experiencing symptoms of COVID immediately self-isolates, arranges to have a COVID test, and continues to self-isolate until results are received. 

Read more

Action is being taken to address a marked increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Wigtownshire.

Caution is being advised over the holiday period, daily testing made available across Christmas and New Year, and all but essential visiting to care homes in Wigtownshire is being suspended with immediate effect.

An increased number of COVID cases has been identified, particularly within the Stranraer area but also in Newton Stewart and more rural communities.

Cases have been found in workplace settings, and affecting patients and staff at Galloway Community Hospital where routine in-patient visiting has already been suspended.

Read more

Joint message from NHS Dumfries and Galloway and Dumfries and Galloway Council

Advice to take care, follow the rules and use your judgement around socialising is being promoted as Dumfries and Galloway moves to Level 1.

This weekend marks the first for the region after six weeks spent in Level 2 on the national COVID protection framework.

The lifting of some restrictions comes after all the efforts and sacrifices made by people across the region which have helped reduce the number of new cases. However, there are still new cases of the coronavirus being identified right across the region, and there is still a need to be on guard.

Pubs and restaurants will be operating with fewer restrictions, but people are please asked to follow the continuing limitations and guidance – including physical distancing, use of face coverings, and providing contact details.

Read more

Additional testing is being redeployed in response to a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Upper Nithsdale.

It comes as Dumfries and Galloway prepares to move from Level 2 to Level 1 in the national protection framework, and amid a recognition of the particular challenges faced by communities on the borders of the region.

Read more

A further fall in new, additional COVID cases was recorded in Dumfries and Galloway last week.

There was a total of 30 new positive cases identified in the week ending November 29, down from 44 the week before.

The number of close contacts who were advised were also down, standing at 90 – which was a marked reduction from the previous 265.

Credit is being paid to everyone in Dumfries and Galloway who has been playing a role in suppressing the spread of COVID by following guidelines.

These actions have helped to reduce the number of cases, protecting communities from the worst consequences of the coronavirus.

However, we are continuing to see positive cases in all four of the region’s localities – Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, Stewarty and Wigtownshire.

There is evidence of community transmission, and evidence that people identified as close contacts of cases are developing COVID-19.

It’s therefore extremely important that we continue to follow the national directions around use of face coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing and interaction, so that we can continue to suppress the spread of COVID.

Although we have the prospect of imminent vaccinations to combat COVID, there is still work to be done to see Dumfries and Galloway into a safer long-term position.

A programme of vaccination against COVID-19 is being readied in Dumfries and Galloway – following approval in the UK of a vaccine.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has approved the use in the UK of the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech.

Plans are moving ahead for the first cohort of recipients, and no contact is required by any member of the public to contacts such as GPs at this time around arrangements – as approaches will be made to those eligible directly.

Read more

Anyone in Scotland diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms will now have to self-isolate for ten days – an increase from seven.

The announcement has been made by UK’s four Chief Medical Officers, noting evidence that people with COVID-19 have a ‘low but real possibility’ of infectiousness between seven and nine days after the onset of the illness.

Reacting to the development, NHS Dumfries and Galloway Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Nigel Calvert said: “Self-isolation plays such an important role in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus, and we’ve seen this first-hand within Dumfries and Galloway,

“We’re so grateful that people do self-isolate, and with this extension from seven days to ten days it’s important we remember that this move is to ensure the full effectiveness of this action, and that self-isolation is an act which protects our friends, our neighbours and our wider communities.”

Chief Medical Officer for Scotland Dr Gregor Smith is a co-signatory on the statement issued today by all four of the UK’s chief medical officers which has introduced and explained the extension of the self-isolation period.

Explaining the 10 day self-isolation period applies for those people who have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result, the statement said: “In symptomatic people, COVID-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.

“Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with COVID who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset.

“We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.

“This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission.”

Other signatories to the letter are Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride and Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible, and no one should be blamed for contracting the virus.

Anyone who does experience any of the symptoms (a cold or flu like illness – including a new cough, high temperature, or loss of smell) should self-isolate and book a test through our mobile testing unit which carries out testing daily across the region.

Tests can be booked by visiting the website www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/ 

Today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Dumfries and Galloway has been placed at Level 2 within the new, national five-level protection system aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus. 

The new scale runs from 0 to 4, with 0 having the least restrictions and 4 the most significant. 

Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway have acknowledged this decision, and are working together as part of the wider Local Resilience Partnership to promote action aimed at suppressing the spread of COVID-19. 

It is hoped that by everyone playing their part, and following national guidance, Dumfries and Galloway can reduce the rate of COVID within the region and place it in a good position to move into a lower level in the new national system. 

Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader, Elaine Murray said: “We now know that Dumfries and Galloway has been placed in protection level 2 in the new five-level national system aimed at managing the spread of COVID-19. Our recent increases in numbers of cases and positivity rate could easily have seen us level 3. 

“Being in level 2 means that significant restrictions on our businesses and services will persist. We must aim to reduce the spread of the virus sufficiently to meet the criteria for level 1. We must all take on the responsibility of achieving this by observing the World Health Organisation recommendations – wearing face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning our hands and surfaces, observing a two metre distance and self-isolating if we have symptoms. We’re all fed up having to do this, but for the sake of our NHS, our vulnerable residents and our businesses we need to make that extra effort.” 

Nick Morris, Chairman of NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “More cases means pressure on our health and social care, and our other frontline services as we’re heading into winter, impacting not just on those suffering with COVID. 

“It is within the ability of each and every one of us to make things better – by following the directions around wearing of face coverings, good hand hygiene, and maintaining physical distancing.  

“Crucially, if you feel even the slightest symptoms of COVID it’s important to immediately self-isolate and arrange a COVID test – and continue self-isolating until you receive a result. 

“We suppressed the virus before, and we know we can do it again.” 

The Depute Leader of the Council is Rob Davidson.  He said: “COVID cases have increased substantially within Dumfries and Galloway in recent weeks, right across the region. 

“We have the ability to test anyone who has the slightest doubt that they may have COVID, and a Test and Protect team ready to work with anyone who receives a positive diagnosis, identify the risk of exposure and help to limit any further spread. 

“We’re heading into winter, and it could be a tough one. People are thinking towards the festive period, and hoping for some sense of normality.” 

“If we want to have as normal a Christmas as possible, the power to achieve that lies with us. In large part, what happens next is in the hands of each and every one of us. 

“Please follow the guidance. Stick to the rules. We can do this, together.” 

Full details on Level 2 can be found on the Scottish Government website at this address at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-protection-levels/pages/protection-level-2/ 

 

Very limited patient visiting is in place at hospitals within Dumfries and Galloway.

In order to protect patients, visitors, staff and communities from the dangers of COVID-19, many restrictions apply for those people who will be visiting a hospital inpatient.

This includes each patient having only one named visitor for the duration of their stay in hospital, restrictions on access to specific patient areas, a need for visitors to wear face coverings and follow hygiene guidance. Visitors will need to agree in advance with the ward/hospital when they are coming and we ask that they only stay for a short period.

Each hospital inpatient is permitted one named visitor for the duration of their stay. This named visitor must supply full contact details, provided to the inpatient’s ward ahead of the first visit.

Anyone transporting a named visitor for a hospital visit will be required to wait in their vehicle.

When the visitor enters the hospital, they must be wearing a face covering and must follow directions on hygiene, including the use of hand sanitisers.

Unfortunately, areas where there may be COVID patients receiving treatment are off-limits to visitors. Within Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, these are wards D9, B2 and the Combined Assessment Unit (CAU). In addition, due to the types of care being provided in C6 and the Short Stay Unit, these wards remain off-limits, too.

Please find attached the approved Care Home Testing Implementation Plan. Due to the changing circumstances of the pandemic this will be routinely reviewed.

2020-07-03 – Care Home testing implementation plan – 004 2

A limited range of treatment for urgent and emergency cases is now able to be offered at dental practices within Dumfries and Galloway from this week.

This comes as part of national moves to restore services affected by COVID-19. However, patients are asked to note that access to dental practices continues to be by telephone in the first instance and the range of services available at practices are extremely limited and are for urgent and emergency cases only.

Patients should be assured that dental practices have supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to help protect staff and the public.

They should also be aware that anyone requiring emergency treatment which requires an aerosol-generating procedure, such as drilling to start root treatment, will be able to receive this treatment at one of the Urgent Dental Care Centres within the region.

Anyone who requires urgent or emergency treatment should continue to contact their local practice by telephone in the first instance, where their requirements will be assessed and dealt with.

Patients are meanwhile thanked for their ongoing patience, with an assurance that dental teams are working conscientiously to ensure the best possible and safest possible arrangements for patients and staff. It is hoped that the range of available dental services can be expanded in a safe manner over coming weeks and months.

A national contact tracing programme for COVID-19 was officially launched in Scotland today.

‘Test and Protect’ aims to limit the spread of coronavirus by identifying those who have the virus, asking them to self and household isolate and then identifying individuals who have had close contact with the positive case and are at risk of developing the virus and asking them to self isolate – thus helping to reduce the risk of transmission to other people.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Interim Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “Today marks the launch of the Test and Protect programme in Scotland. In Dumfries and Galloway we have our contact tracing team in place.

“An individual who experiences symptoms of coronavirus should self isolate along with their Household as per the current arrangements.

“Those with symptoms should make arrangements to have a test by accessing the Scottish Government website to book a test. We have a mobile testing facility that is travelling around the region at the moment that can be booked through the online system.

“If that test result is positive, those individuals will be contacted by our contact tracing team. The team will have a conversation with the individual and help them to identify people they have been in contact with during the period they have been infectious – the contacts.

“The team will then review the list of contacts and determine those which would be classified as close contacts. Close contacts will then be contacted by the team to advise they have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for coronarvirus.

“We will give them advice to isolate for a period of 14 days and to monitor themselves for symptoms. If that contact then develops symptoms and tests positive for coronavirus, the the contact tracing system would start again.

“This is a big ask for our community, but we have been excellent at abiding by the rules so far and I am sure we will continue to do this. For those individuals who may find it difficult to undertake periods of self-isolation, we will make arrangements for them to be supported through our council-led team who have been providing support for those who have been undertaking shielding, and that links in to the fabulous support that’s been provided through our local community and the third sector to provide support to individuals at this difficult time.”

Further advice can be found on NHS Inform –https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/test-and-protect

We are grateful to everyone across the region for continuing to follow the guidance to stay at home and for complying with social distancing measures when leaving the house for essential supplies, essential medical needs  and for daily exercise.   These measures have been successful in flattening the curve in Dumfries and Galloway and we need to continue with them to maintain this position.

It is clear that COVID-19 will continue to be with us for some time and GP practices will need to maintain many of the measures that have been in place over the past few weeks in order to protect patients and the practice team.   Wherever possible, patients needing to access GP services are receiving telephone and video consultations, with patients attending the practice premises only where necessary.  Patients should feel reassured that online appointments are completely safe and secure and the technology is very easy to use. These types of appointment allow patients to access the care they need while staying at home, helping to reduce the spread of the virus.  

If you do need to be examined then you will be invited to attend for appointment in the surgery.  Please be reassured that all practices have arrangements in place to support social distancing and do not be unduly concerned that some of the practice team may be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Access to all GP practices is now by prior arrangement, so, if you need help from your GP practice please do get in touch by telephone and do not attend the surgery in person without an appointment. 

In the first instance, anyone experiencing mild symptoms of coronavirus should look at the information relating to COVID-19 on the NHS Inform website www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.

Should further advice or guidance be needed, call NHS24 on 111.

Please be reminded that Community Pharmacies remain open across the region offering expert advice and guidance on a wide range of health issues.   Community Pharmacies have also introduced arrangements to support social distancing.

Please be reassured that your GP practice is there to support you and therefore please continue to access your GP services when you need them.

Mobile testing for COVID-19 is now available for more residents of Dumfries & Galloway.  At the same time, testing for health, social care and Council staff continues to be delivered by the NHS at their testing sites in Dumfries and Stranraer.

However, other key workers (including food chain, transport, delivery, essential manufacturing, etc – full list at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/pages/who-can-be-tested/), those older than 65 years of age, and household members of both of these groups can be tested at one of the mobile testing units that are being staffed by the army throughout Dumfries & Galloway.

Testing locations for the remainder of this week will be:

  • Thursday 7th May– Dumfries – DG1 (Hoods Loaning, Dumfries, DG1 2HT)
  • Friday 8th May – Langholm  – Kilngreen Car Park (High Street (Kilngreen), DG13 0JN)
  • Saturday 9th May – Sanquhar  – Fun Pool, (Blackaddie Road Sanquhar DG4 6DB)

Anyone requiring to be tested will need a booked appointment.

Anyone who falls into one of the categories above, and has symptoms of COVID-19 can book an appointment on the Scottish Government website (https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/).

As samples are tested in Glasgow results will take a few days to be returned, and staff in NHS Dumfries & Galloway are unable to access test results before you have received your result back – please do not phone asking for results as we are unable to help.

The locations of the mobile testing unit will be advertised in advance via social and local media routes, and it is anticipated that there will be a regular timetable of sites across the region, allowing local and predictable access to testing for most residents of Dumfries & Galloway.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace said: “The virus has changed many aspects of our lives and, for a growing number of families in the region, it has brought the tragedy of bereavement. Its impact could, though, have been much worse in terms of the numbers of people hospitalised or requiring critical care, and in the number of patients dying from the virus. Staying at home, social distancing, practising good hand hygiene, working from home and working safely in essential roles in your place of work have all contributed greatly in helping to minimise the impact of COVID-19 in Dumfries and Galloway.

“But we can see from the extraordinary number of patients who continue to be cared for by our critical care teams, or by the challenges in our care homes across the region, that this problem is far from over. That is why it is so important that every single one of us continues in these containment efforts in the weeks ahead. By doing so we will save lives.

“Our containment efforts succeeded to the point that we weren’t overwhelmed by COVID-19 in its first wave, but we now recognise that we’re going to have to live with a ‘new normal’ for some time. We will need to work out what that means for all of us, and how we can continue to help and support each other and our communities.”

*Updated 07/05/20

Message from Jeff Ace, Chief Executive, NHS Dumfries & Galloway

In common with health systems across the UK, we are experiencing an unprecedented increase in acute hospital activity resulting from COVID-19. As a result of this, our hospital services are having to change rapidly to enable them to manage large numbers of patients ill with the virus.

Our teams need to focus their efforts on delivering care to these acutely ill patients at this time. I therefore took the decision recently to suspend all non urgent outpatient and inpatient activity at DGRI and the Galloway Community Hospital. A small number of critical services, such as renal dialysis, and cancer treatment and surgery, will continue as normal, it is simply not possible to provide our full range of clinical activity at this time.

Please do not attend the hospital for appointments that are not related to these critical services. We are calling every patient to confirm cancellations or to arrange for remote consultation using the NHS Near Me video conference technology.

All non urgent service provision is being kept under constant review and is subject to change at very short notice to enable us to adapt to fast changing circumstances. We will keep you informed of any such changes at the earliest possible opportunity.

I fully appreciate the inconvenience and distress that additional waits for services can create for people. We will keep the situation under continuous review and will restart our full service model as soon as possible.

A COVID-19 Assessment Centre opened on Friday 26th March, at DGRI. This will link directly with the new advice line launched earlier this week.

The Assessment Centre is part of a pathway for anyone concerned about COVID-19 symptoms.

In the first instance, anyone experiencing mild symptoms should look at the information relating to COVID-19 on the NHS Inform Website www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.

Should further advice or guidance be needed, they should call NHS24 on 111. Anyone requiring further assessment will be given access by NHS24 to the COVID-19 Community Hub. The COVID-19 Community Hub will provide call handling, secondary triage and telephone advice for everyone across Dumfries & Galloway.

Should it be required, the COVID-19 Community Hub will refer patients to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre who will undertake assessment of COVID-19 patients with more serious symptoms. Only those people that need to be admitted to hospital will be admitted.

This new pathway will help to protect GP capacity to provide care for people in the community with non-COVID healthcare needs. It will also reduce demand on the Emergency Department in terms of those who would have otherwise presented with mild to moderate symptoms.

In order to increase the safety of pregnant women during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are changing the way you access your appointments in Stranraer.

Access to maternity appointments will now be via the St John’s entrance of the Galloway Community Hospital (previously the Cancer drop-in centre). No other users of the hospital will be using this entrance.

 There will still be a waiting area, and ultrasound scans and Midwife appointments will still be available.  It would be helpful if pregnant women brought a urine sample with them and did not need to use the toilet as this would require accessing other areas of the building.

 The safety of pregnant women during this time is our priority. 

 The phone numbers you currently use to contact the Midwives will remain the same.

 Anyone displaying any symptoms of COVID-19  should not attend for any appointments. All appointments can be rearranged. 

 Please follow this advice and increase the safety for all women and staff during this difficult time.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway has taken the decision to suspend all visiting times for inpatient wards in all hospitals across the region to limit the spread of coronavirus and to protect vulnerable patients. This comes into effect from today, Thursday March 19.

We know that patients and families may have concerns but we hope everyone understands that we have taken this difficult decision to help protect our patients and staff as it will further reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals each day.

Visiting will continue in specific circumstances; for example, patients receiving end-of-life care or those accompanying partners during childbirth. This would be agreed following discussions with the senior charge nurse/midwife responsible for the clinical area.

If anyone has any further questions about visiting arrangements please speak to the nurse in charge of the ward.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway Medical Director Dr Kenneth Donaldson said: “We understand that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients and we know that not being able to visit family members whilst they are in hospital may be upsetting. We hope that they will understand that we have made this very difficult decision in the best interests of our patients.

“We would like to remind everyone coming into hospital to follow NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s hand hygiene and hand washing advice and we asking everyone not to visit our hospitals if they have any flu-like symptoms, a cough, a fever or a cold – or if they generally feel unwell.”

In common with health systems across the UK, we are planning for an unprecedented increase in acute hospital activity resulting from Covid-19. As of 16th March 2020, we have been fortunate that no cases have been identified in the region. However, we anticipate that this situation will change rapidly and that our hospitals will need to adapt to manage large numbers of patients ill with the virus.

Our teams need to focus on this change, on their own re-training and the reconfiguration of our services. I have therefore taken the decision to suspend all non urgent outpatient and inpatient activity at DGRI and the Galloway Community Hospital from 5.00pm today 17th March. A small number of critical services, such as renal dialysis, and cancer treatment and surgery, will continue as normal, but I am afraid that we simply cannot continue to provide our full range of clinical activity at this time. Please do not attend the hospital for appointments that are not related to these critical services. We will call every patient to confirm cancellations or to arrange for remote consultation using the NHS Near Me video conference technology.

At the moment we are focussing this change on our acute hospital services, and other patient pathways such as psychiatry and psychology clinics will continue as normal. This will be kept under review and we may need to make changes here at short notice to adapt to fast changing circumstances.

I am deeply sorry to have to make this announcement and I fully appreciate the inconvenience and distress that additional wait for our services can create. We will keep the situation under continuous review and will restart our full service model as soon as safely possible.

Jeff Ace

Chief Executive, NHS Dumfries and Galloway

We are grateful to everyone across the region for continuing to follow the guidance to stay at home and for complying with social distancing measures when leaving the house for essential supplies, essential medical needs  and for daily exercise.   These measures have been successful in flattening the curve in Dumfries and Galloway and we need to continue with them to maintain this position.

It is clear that COVID-19 will continue to be with us for some time and GP practices will need to maintain many of the measures that have been in place over the past few weeks in order to protect patients and the practice team.   Wherever possible, patients needing to access GP services are receiving telephone and video consultations, with patients attending the practice premises only where necessary.  Patients should feel reassured that online appointments are completely safe and secure and the technology is very easy to use. These types of appointment allow patients to access the care they need while staying at home, helping to reduce the spread of the virus.  

If you do need to be examined then you will be invited to attend for appointment in the surgery.  Please be reassured that all practices have arrangements in place to support social distancing and do not be unduly concerned that some of the practice team may be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Access to all GP practices is now by prior arrangement, so, if you need help from your GP practice please do get in touch by telephone and do not attend the surgery in person without an appointment. 

In the first instance, anyone experiencing mild symptoms of coronavirus should look at the information relating to COVID-19 on the NHS Inform website www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.

Should further advice or guidance be needed, call NHS24 on 111.

Please be reminded that Community Pharmacies remain open across the region offering expert advice and guidance on a wide range of health issues.   Community Pharmacies have also introduced arrangements to support social distancing.

Please be reassured that your GP practice is there to support you and therefore please continue to access your GP services when you need them.

We recognise that during periods of uncertainty and high anxiety, society can often display negative behaviours and values towards each other and we ask that our staff and community continue to work towards our CORE values.

Compassion

Compassion is showing empathy and sympathy towards each other. Our staff demonstrate compassion on a daily basis towards both patients and families. During this time of uncertainty, we ask that all those within our communities pull together and check in on one another. This could be a daily call or dropping off some basic supplies to those note able to leave their homes.

Openness

We are working hard to ensure we can provide clear, open and transparent information to staff and the community. We ask our community to assist by ensuring they do not share false news information that can cause panic but to only share, discuss and action information that is being produced on this site and recognised health and government sites.

Respect

In our daily lives, we all expect to be treated with dignity and respect, in times of uncertainty, this is even more important. Our commitment to our community is that we will continue to treat those we meet and care for with courtesy, thoughtfulness and consideration for their situation. Additionally, we can all be thoughtful around the availability of resources and demand on our services, and would ask that in light of this, NHS property should not be removed from our facilities as they are required for the care of our patients.  For example, hand sanitiser is one of our most valuable resources at this time. 

Excellence

We are committed to offering safe, high quality health and social care services. In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have updated guidance at the entrances of all of our buildings and improved hand hygiene guidance throughout our facilities. We ask our communities to support us in following this guidance to manage and prevent a greater spread of infection.

Accessible Information

It is important that information on COVID-19 is accessible for as many people as possible. 

NHS Inform has key information documents on COVID-19 available in several languages including:

  • Arabic
  • Slovak
  • Hindi
  • Chinese
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Urdu

NHS Inform also has COVID-19 advice available in:

  • BSL
  • Easy Read
  • Audio Format

You can access all these in the Other Languages and Formats Section on NHS Inform here: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

In addition, Dumfries and Galloway Council has a very useful Accessible Information page on their website. This provides information on COVID-19 in a range of formats as well as updates on council services as signed BSL videos. The Accessible Information page can be found here: https://supportdg.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20829/Accessible-information

The Board’s We Welcome Your Feedback leaflet is available in other languages here.