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Coronavirus / NHS tells people not to attend A&E or health centres for coronavirus test

Patient visiting arrangements are also changing at the Gilbert Bain Hospital

NHS Shetland is urging people not to go to the A&E department in the Gilbert Bain Hospital or health centres wanting to be tested for coronavirus.

The health board’s chief executive Michael Dickson said that the NHS is not offering testing for coronavirus unless “clinically indicated”.

Access to the Gilbert Bain Hospital is being limited. Photo: Shetland News

NHS Shetland, meanwhile, said that only next of kin family members should visit patients in the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

General patient visiting arrangements will change from Wednesday (18 March).

Visiting times will be restricted to 3pm-4pm and 7pm-8pm every day and each patient should have a maximum of two visitors at a time.

NHS Shetland is asking that children under the age of 12 years do not visit their relatives in hospital and instead use phones or video chats.

For patients who are Covid-19 positive in hospital, the NHS will put in place arrangements for them to access relatives remotely.

The health board added that nobody with symptoms of Covid-19 should visit any patients in hospital.

Director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said: “Having visitors whilst in hospital is very important and ordinarily we would encourage people to visit at any time.

“However, we have taken this decision by balancing visiting arrangements with overall patient safety and the need to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our community.

“There will be times when these arrangements will be relaxed and in certain circumstances visitors will be able to visit at any time. If there are any queries about this then please speak to the nurse in charge of the ward before you arrive at the hospital.”

Carolan also urged people not to attend the A&E department to request testing.

“We have found that people are attending A&E to request testing and we are not able to provide this service,” she said.

“The current guidance is that if you have a new persistent cough or a fever (37.8C or above) then you should stay at home and self isolate. If symptoms become worse, then please contact NHS24 on 111 by telephone for health advice.”

A host of public buildings are being closed or are having their access restricted following stricter guidance from the UK and Scottish governments on social interaction.

Care homes are only open to essential visitors, while the Shetland Museum and Archives is closed until further notice.

Shetland News has compiled a list of cancelled events and closed buildings in a ‘what’s off’ page.