Temporary visiting restrictions have been introduced at a hospital in Stornoway in the interest of the safety of their patients and staff. 

Western Isles Hospital will only permit essential visitors from today until further notice. 

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NHS Western Isles confirmed that it would not be possible to maintain physical distancing in the hospital which is currently extremely busy.

Essential visits include birth partners supporting a woman during hospital visits, visiting someone receiving end-of-life care, supporting someone with a mental health issue, dementia or learning disability where necessary and accompanying a child in hospital. 

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Virtual visits are still being offered and being encouraged by the hospital. 

Visitation guidance has not been changed in hospitals in Benbecula and Barra where two named visitors are allowed. 

A statement issued by NHS Western Isles added: "We would like to apologise for any inconvenience or distress caused as a result of this safety measure, and thank everyone in advance for their understanding and cooperation."