Visiting rules at Ayrshire's maternity unit have now changed, allowing women to have more visitors.

Rules have changed through various stages of the pandemic.

Now women who are using the service can have two designated visitors over and above their main birthing partner whilst in the inpatient ward.

One of these visitors can be a child accompanied by an adult.

An appointment system will still be in use, with two separate two-hour time slots allocated each morning.

A statement on the NHS Ayrshire And Arran Women and Children’s Service Facebook page confirmed the news. 

It read: "The two designated visitors may visit together or separately and the ward can support up to two visits per day; one for each visitor if having to attend separately.

"For labour and birth we are welcoming two birthing-partners on the labour ward and midwifery suite. For an elective caesarean, only one birthing partner can be in maternity theatre.

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"For induction of labour, women may be accompanied by one birthing partner 8am until 8pm on the inpatient ward.

"Women attending outpatient appointments or the assessment unit at Ayrshire Maternity Unit may bring one adult to accompany them however, they may not be able to enter the treatment or investigation area with you due to space and the need to socially distance.

"All other guidance aimed at maintaining the safety of all within the hospital setting applies as set out in this guidance. This includes wearing face coverings within the hospital and clinic settings."

For the neonatal unit and paediatrics, the statement continues: "Within this highly specialised environment, visiting is encouraged at what can often be a difficult time for families anxious to take their child home.

"Within this area, a family-centred approach is promoted so parents can spend valuable time with their child or baby and this can be arranged in liaison with the ward staff.

"No restrictions on time or appointments are required for parents and staff will assist you regarding the need for PPE or any other requirements to maintain the safety of the rest of the babies and children in the department.

"Other visitors can arrange to attend following discussion with the nurse in charge for the neonatal unit or paediatric ward."

More information is available on the NHS Ayrshire & Arran website.