Covid in Scotland: Terminally ill assured they can have home visits

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Lynn and Raymond EddieImage source, Eddie family
Image caption,
Lynn Eddie was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year

Terminally ill people in Scotland have been assured they are allowed visits from family and friends despite new coronavirus restrictions.

New measures introduced this week prohibit people from visiting other households or hosting visitors in their own home, with a few exceptions.

That prompted concern from one cancer patient who feared the rules would prevent her receiving family support.

Lynn Eddie from Aberdeen was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.

The 51-year-old was on furlough when she was given the devastating news that she had lung and liver cancer and may only live another year.

She feared her mother could now no longer visit her at home.

The new rules also advised people not to share a car with those outside the household.

Married mother-of-two Lynn described how she received her diagnosis after being put on furlough from her job as an area manager for a supermarket cafe chain.

"I had a bit of a sore tummy at the end of April, beginning of May," she explained. "It was niggling me. It just wasn't going away."

Following guidelines

Lynn, of Cove, said that until the new restrictions were announced, her mother had been visiting her regularly with pots of soup and a friend had been driving her to doctor appointments.

She said she was worried all that would have to end this week.

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She added: "I'm not stupid. I'm not having parties. I'm not drinking."

She said she needed someone to say; "You know what Lynn, under your circumstances, it's OK for you to have one person in your house".

Asked if patients such as Lynn were allowed family and friend visits, Scotland's national clinical director Prof Jason Leitch said: "Absolutely, 100%, yes - but everybody should still be careful.

"There is still risk there, but the terminal cancer diagnosis trumps everything else.

"Nobody should misunderstand what we're trying to do here. We're of course trying to protect the public from Covid, but we want to do that in a completely compassionate way."

'It's really overwhelming'

The Scottish government later confirmed: "We are so very sorry to hear of Ms Eddie's diagnosis and understand this is an incredibly difficult time for her, as they are for many others who are seriously or terminally ill at this time.

"As Jason Leitch said on Reporting Scotland, in such desperately sad end-of-life cases as Ms Eddie's, home visits that are considered essential and necessary are in fact allowed."

Lynn said the clarification was "such a relief" as it would have made her life harder when she needed her family.

She said: "I can have family and friends still visit me - but still be careful.

"It's really overwhelming that someone listened to what I was saying, that was really good.

"I just felt that someone's listening out there and I've got clarity and I'm definitely happy."