VISITING is now permitted at hospitals across Ayrshire, health bosses have announced.

Last week, visiting was reduced to all but essential visits.

But NHS Ayrshire and Arran says that from today (Monday, December 20), one designated visitor, on an appointment basis, will be able to visit their loved ones in all of Ayrshire's hospitals.

This follows a review of the current visiting situation and close monitoring of community prevalence in the last few days.

The length of visit and number of visits allowed will be determined by ward staff, and based on the environment and clinical needs of the patients.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran has produced some new guidance to make sure that all visits are conducted in a safe manner.

This can be viewed here.

The health board say that they will continue to be mindful of the community prevalence of COVID-19 and may have to review their position on visiting should there be a rise in hospital outbreaks.

Jenny Wilson, interim nurse director, said: “We are delighted to be able to reintroduce designated visiting, especially at a time of year when family is particularly important.

"I do not underestimate the impact that the recent restrictions have had on our patients and their loved ones.

"And so I ask that everyone follows the guidance to make each visit as safe as possible, and to help us avoid any further restrictions being necessary.”