Relatives phoning in to check on loved ones across the region are putting extra pressure on nursing staff.

The warning from NHS Dumfries and Galloway comes as visiting patients in hospital has been suspended across the region to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

Health bosses have revealed that in recent days reception staff and wards at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, in particular, “have been fielding a very high volume of calls during what is a very busy period”.

General manager Carole Morton said: “We are asking relatives to identify one person to phone the ward once a day please.

“At times the nurses are answering the phones to relatives on a constant basis and this is taking up crucial delivery of care time.
“We understand how concerned relatives are and we are sympathetic to how difficult it is not seeing their loved ones.

“We extend our thanks to relatives for responding to this request at such an exceptionally difficult time.”

The health board is allowing visiting in limited exceptional circumstances – provided those visitors have not tested positive for Covid or have been asked to quarantine.

The in-patient visiting exceptions are for families being with a loved one who is at end of life; for birth partners; those accompanying children; or those supporting someone with a condition such as dementia, a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the person to be distressed.