Visiting restrictions at Ayrshire hospitals will be relaxed from Monday.

As of January 31, each patient will be allowed to have two designated visitors and up to two visits per day.

This applies to all areas of the hospitals, except Covid-19 wards or any ward experiencing an outbreak of Covid-19. In these areas, one designated visitor can visit, once a day.

Previously, only one visitor per patient was allowed in the hospitals.

Designated visitors can turn up at the hospital together or separately and they do not need to be from the same household.

However, all visits must still be pre-arranged to allow social distancing measures to be maintained within the ward areas.

Visitors are being asked to contact the ward to arrange their visit in advance and they are also being encouraged to carry out a lateral flow test (LFT) before entering the hospital.

Updated guidance on all visiting arrangements can be found on the NHS Ayrshire & Arran website here.

‘Virtual visiting’ (video calling) will also continue to be available on all sites in addition to in-person visiting.

Professor Hazel Borland, nurse director, said: “As the effects of Covid-19 across our communities begin to reduce, and the general public precautions are eased, we are looking forward to being able to welcome more visitors back into our hospitals.

"We know this will have a hugely positive effect on our patients. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff, patients and visitors for their co-operation and patience during the past months when stricter measures were necessary to keep everyone safe.”