NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Test COVID negative before visiting hospital patients this winter

UNDER new guidance from the Scottish Government , anyone visiting friends or family in hospital should have tested negative for COVID-19 before arriving.  

The new highly-transmissible Omicron variant of COVID is spreading fast, and hospital inpatients are among the most vulnerable. In response to this situation, national directions call for all visitors to have completed a lateral flow test (LFT) and obtained a negative result before they arrive. 

In addition, hospital inpatients are now limited to two visitors each at a time. If the patient is on a ward where there is already an outbreak of COVID, only essential visitors, who have tested negative for COVID will be allowed  

Mark Kelly, Interim Director of Nursing at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Visits from friends and family are so very important for patients’ welfare, especially over Christmas. With case numbers rising so rapidly across the country, we must now be extremely cautious. Hospital patients are among those most vulnerable within our communities, and protecting our patients and staff is vital over what is set to be a very challenging winter. 

 “The limit on visitor numbers also helps reduce risk, with a requirement now that visitors are limited to at most two people at one time, and with visitors to Galloway Community Hospital, cottage hospitals and Midpark asked to contact the nursing staff in advance of visiting. 

“Combined with other precautions, like hand hygiene, wearing face coverings in indoor public settings and distancing, these new visiting precautions will give us the best possible chance of keeping patients and staff safe over Christmas and New Year. I encourage everyone to share the message about the new guidance to anyone they know who will be visiting someone in hospital over coming weeks.”  

Lateral flow tests are free, rapid and simple to perform. Tests are available free from pharmacies and from local test sites (listed on https://www.nhsdg.co.uk/testing/). Visitors coming from outside Dumfries and Galloway can learn where to find tests elsewhere in Scotland at   

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-testing/.  Tests can also be ordered online through https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests. Different brands of lateral flow test will involve slightly different procedures, so make sure you are following the instructions that came with your test. 

If you test positive on a lateral flow test, you must self-isolate immediately and order a confirmatory PCR test – more information on what to do if you test positive is at https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/test-and-protect/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-infection/.