Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed news that family and friends will be able to visit loved ones at hospital times which are convenient to them.

The pilot will see five health boards including Forth Valley, extended visiting hours at the Critical Care Ward.

Health Secretary Alex Neil has implemented the pilot after listening to feedback from patients to make the health service more ‘user friendly’.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson, whose constituency covers the Forth Valley Royal Hospital which is participating in the trial, said:

“This pilot will allow family and friends to be able to visit their loved ones in the critical care ward at times which are convenient to them.

“Opening up visiting times to 11am to 8pm will mean it is easier for people to fit visiting patients in with their working hours.

“That will result in more support for the patient and seeing more of family and friends could speed up recovery.

“NHS staff will also benefit as visitors will be spread out more throughout the day, rather than being restricted to a couple of hours.

“It is great news that the Health Secretary has listened to what patients want and has listened to those who want their visitors to be able to pop in at any time during the day.