Visiting at Ayrshire's two largest hospitals has been suspended with immediate effect.

From now on, only essential visiting will be allowed, which covers End of Life Care, distressed patients, patients under 18 and patients receiving a diagnosis.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran say they have taken the decision in order to protect patients, the public and staff.

These restrictions apply to University Hospital’s Ayr and Crosshouse only. All other hospitals will continue to support two designated visitors.

Jennifer Wilson, Interim Nurse Director said: “As community prevalence of COVID-19 continues to rise, we are seeing increasing numbers in our acute hospitals, University Ayr and Crosshouse.

"In order to limit the spread and maintain the safety of all our patients and staff, we have had to make the difficult decision to suspend visiting in these hospitals. Please be assured that we will be carefully monitoring the situation and will look forward to welcoming back visitors when it is safe to do so.

"We know this will be difficult for our patients and their families and ask for your co-operation to keep everyone safe.”

Ward staff continue to support patients and their loved ones in touch during this time with the use of technology.

If you would like to arrange a 'virtual visit' (video call) with a friend or family member in one of the affected hospitals, you can contact the ward directly to organise a call.

All wards have iPads/iPods specially set up to enable 'virtual visits', allowing patients to see and talk to the people who matter to them using Zoom.

If you have a visiting appointment arranged at either of the affected hospitals, please do not attend as all appointments have been cancelled with immediate effect.