Important Update: 24/03/2020

NHS Lothian has announced today (24/03) that visiting will be suspended to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff. This move will come into effect from today (24/03).

Visiting will continue in specific circumstances: for example patients receiving end-of-life care, for inpatients in our children’s services and those accompanying partners during chilbirth. Visiting arrangements for these groups should only take place following discussions with senior charge nurses or midwives.

To stay up to date with the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) advice, visit NHS Inform:

A free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice. This can be accessed by calling 0800 028 2816. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, 8:00am –10:00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 8:00am – 6:00pm

We understand that the public may have questions in relation to this. This is why we have prepared some FAQs (Click here).

Hand Washing

Maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water – Washing effectively with soap and water is sufficient.

We also ask all patients, visitors and staff entering or leaving the ward to use hand hygiene gel. This is to help stop the spread of infection. Apply by squirting a little gel onto the hands, massaging it in like hand cream and allowing it to dry naturally. There are hand hygiene gel dispensers at the entrance and throughout the ward.

If you do not see any or are unsure please ask a member of staff.

Please do not sit on beds – use the chairs provided.

Visiting Hours

You are free to visit your friend or relative on the ward between the hours of 8am and 8pm outwith patient meal times. We recommend visiting them during the afternoon or evening so as not to disturb patients’ physio sessions, etc. in the morning. If you do arrive wanting to visit in the morning, you may need to wait until this has finished.

The number of visitors at the bedside is restricted to two at any one time and we would ask that the number of visitors be kept to a minimum to allow medical staff access to the patient in the case of an emergency. Keeping the number of visitors to a minimum will also prevent your friend/relative from becoming overtired.

High Dependency Unit (215)

Visiting within HDU is between 2pm and 7:30pm each day outwith patient meal times. However, it can be more flexible depending on your relatives’ condition and should be discussed with the nurse in charge. We would encourage you to make short frequent visits rather than lengthy ones. When your relative is moved to the ward area you will be expected to adhere to the ward visiting times.

Ensure you have washed your hands or use hand sanitiser before entering the HDU and approaching your relative. Ensure you remove any valuables from your coat and keep these on your person while visiting.

Patients rest hour is between 1pm- 2pm.

Infection Control criteria do not permit children under 12 to visit the ward or HDU (215) at any time.

Patient Meal Times

Patient meal times are protected from visiting unless you are coming to help feed your friend or relative. Meal times are:

  • Breakfast: 08:00 – 09:00
  • Lunch: 12:00 – 13:00
  • Dinner: 17:00 – 18:00

Food and Drink

The catering service within the hospital will do its best to supply food that is suitable for each patient. If necessary, only commercially prepared food (with a sell-by date) may be brought. Please check with the nursing staff regarding its suitability.


Infection Control criteria no longer permit flowers in either the ward or HDU.

Facilities for Relatives

Waiting Area

There is a waiting area outside the ward and a waiting room within HDU. There is also the foyer on the ground floor near the cafe and shops.

Accommodation and Travel

There are a number of Bed and Breakfast establishments within walking distance or a short drive from the hospital. The Royal Infirmary is also well served by bus links should you be travelling from elsewhere within Edinburgh.


There are shops on the Royal Infirmary site which carry a range of newspapers, magazines, snacks, refreshments and toiletries.

Opening times:

Monday – FridaySaturday – Sunday
M&S6:30 – 21:007:00 – 20:30
WHSmith7:00 – 20:308:00 – 20:00

The Royal Infirmary is also a short journey from Cameron Toll shopping centre.

There is also a Royal Bank of Scotland ATM onsite.


The hospital canteen is open to visitors offering a wide range of hot and cold meals, snacks and refreshments. Vending machines are also located in the canteen. The canteen serves meals at the following times:

  • Breakfast: 7:00 – 10:45
  • Lunch: 11:45 – 14:00
  • Supper: 16:00 – 19:30

Food and refreshments are also available from the shops and cafes on the Royal Infirmary site.

Information Desk

There is an information desk on the ground floor of the hospital, opening Monday to Friday, 09:00 until 16:00.