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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Safety Response

Castle Craig is open and Covid-free and we continue to offer our much needed residential addiction treatment for patients during the Coronavirus pandemic. Travel to Scotland from the rest of the UK and all European countries is allowed for healthcare purposes.

These are difficult times and we want to reassure our patients, their families and people who desperately need treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, that we are committed to providing the safest environment for recovery possible. We have taken special measures to ensure that our clinic operates safely and some complementary therapies have been paused.


Information on Actions & Measures Taken at Castle Craig Hospital

We have been open and operating throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, and we continue to provide access to essential acute medical and clinical care. Alcohol and substance use disorders are amongst the most prevalent of mental health disorders globally and alcohol and drug users are at greater risk of Covid-19 due the health impact of alcohol, lack of self-care, and social-isolation, which can lead to an increase in alcohol/drug consumption and increase the risk of suicide. Alcohol and drugs also have a deleterious effect on the immune system reducing virus resistance and immunity. Alcohol sales have risen significantly and the already rising death rates from alcoholic liver disease are likely to rise further.

We are therefore pleased to continue to offer essential clinical care at this time and ensure the continuation of our duty of care for people suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.

Accreditation of Safety Measures


Castle Craig’s special Covid-19 Safety measures have passed inspection tests by our regulating body ‘Healthcare Improvement Scotland’ who made a recent inspection in December 2020. They found our Covid-19 measures to be ‘Good’ and ‘Exceptional’.

They found that: Comprehensive and thorough COVID-19 risk assessments had been carried out and effective actions were being taken to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The hospital’s environment and patient equipment were clean and cleaning procedures followed current national guidance.

Clear and decisive leadership and assurance structures were in place, as well as a supportive approach for patients and staff. A coronavirus response management group had been set up to co-ordinate a hospital-wide response to the pandemic. The risks from COVID-19 had been thoroughly considered and clear actions were being taken to minimise the risk of transmission. The hospital’s quality management system was accredited to internationally recognised standards.

We have also received the BUPA Covid-19 Safety Badge from Bupa health insurers, on the of the UK’s leading health insurance providers.

At Castle Craig Hospital we are committed to providing compassionate care and a clinically proven treatment programme for people suffering from addictions. Our priority is always to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff.


Covid-19 Response Updates

Since the very start of the pandemic we have had a Major Incident Covid-19 Response Team composed of Senior Management, Clinical Staff, infection control nurses and other relevant managers. Working closely with Public Health Scotland, and in light of changing events and guidance, we are taking the following action:

Our Treatment Programme during the Pandemic

The safety of our patients is of the utmost importance to us and as such, we have had to restrict parts of our treatment programme in order to ensure social distancing regulations and hygiene best practices.

Certain additional non-essential complementary activities which are an optional element of your treatment plan may not be available, for example we pushed back the re-launch of our hyperbaric oxygen therapy facility so that we can maintain our high level of infection prevention control and ensure the safety of our patients. In line with government guidelines some hands-on therapies, which require close physical contact for a long period, may not allowed to be made available if government guidelines dictate e.g. aromatherapy massage and head massage. Please ask our admissions department for more information on what we currently provide as the guidelines change fairly regularly.

Due to social distancing measures we cannot offer group equine therapy, however we are offering our dog walking as an option, and other animals such as our alpacas, ponies, pigs, sheep and the abundant wildlife are still onsite for patients to interact with and enjoy.

We are pleased that we can provide some art workshops and drumming. Our clinical team can provide acupuncture which assists with insomnia, anxiety and withdrawal symptoms. We are pleased that patients can stay active through a daily fitness programme with gym use in small groups, country walks, yoga stretching and pilates.

We do again want to stress that these adjunct, holistic therapies are not essential aspects of your treatment plan and we have found equally beneficial replacements for them which minimise any risk of the spread of Covid-19.


Taking full advantage of the fact we have a 50-acre property with many separate buildings, we are able to safely isolate people on admission.

We are admitting new patients to our dedicated Kirkurd Admissions & Medical Unit, where patients will spend the first week of treatment in isolation, focussing on detoxification, assessment and preparation of individual treatment plans, using virtual platforms where possible. During this first week patients will also be tested for Covid-19 twice, even if they show no symptoms.

If new patients remain healthy they will then transfer to the Castle or Recovery Gardens to complete their treatment within the larger patient community.

To arrange an initial assessment or for any questions on how this will work for you, contact our Admissions Team.

Covid-19 Screening

Increased screening for new patients takes place both before admission, during admission and during the first week of treatment in isolation. All new patients are Covid-19 PCR (antigen) tested for coronavirus twice in our admissions and detox unit before they join in with the main treatment programme. All patients and staff are screened on a daily basis, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used for all appropriate contact. Staff receive a monthly Covid-19 swab test. Our staff are screened with swab tests monthly. 

Infection Control

The safety of our patients and staff is of the utmost importance to us and we are maintaining the highest level of infection control and sanitisation throughout the whole hospital and all buildings. We have implemented hand hygiene protocols in accordance with guidelines issued by Public Health which include:

  • hand hygiene training for staff and patients;
  • specific Covid-19 cleanliness and hygiene measures within the hospital,
  • sanitisation stations are located in numerous locations throughout the hospital;
  • and applying social distancing measures in accordance with guidance and the avoidance of non-essential close contact.

All staff at Castle Craig are required to wear masks when in each others offices and when among the patient community. Therapists hold sessions while wearing a mask or with a perspex screen to divide the room and prevent droplet spread. Communication between staff in different departments is kept to a minimum and many staff who can work effectively from home still do.

We provide staff with a packed take-away lunch in place of a hot meal we used to provide in the dining room. Social distancing is actively monitored and all key rooms throughout the hospital have been assessed for maximum numbers of people.

Online Meetings and Programmes – Castle Craig Online

As in many other healthcare practices and clinics, the use of digital technology has enabled us to deliver effective Consultant Psychiatrist consultations through telemedicine; families are able to attend therapy through online platforms; our weekly aftercare groups and family therapy sessions have been moved online and virtual platforms are also used for attending AA and NA recovery fellowship meetings and these are highly successful.

Castle Craig has offered an online Continuing Care programme for several years to support patients at home once discharged from treatment; we encourage any former patient who is finding the current challenges difficult to contact us if they would like to know more about this online therapy.

Gym and Massage

We are able to offer some hands on therapies such as aromatherapy massage and Indian head massage at this time. Our practitioners take all required precautions in line with Scottish Government guidelines. 

Our gym is operating with enhanced hygiene and cleaning of equipment, good ventilation, smaller groups, purpose-built perspex separating screens and staff wear masks.


Unfortunately no visitors are permitted at present but patients are able to connect with family and friends through phone and online.


Regular updates are given to staff through the management system and in staff meetings where social distancing is observed. Staff have been given guidance around extra hygiene measures and 2 metre social distancing. Staff are aware that they must take their own precautions when offsite and are aware of the symptoms of Covid-19.

We would like to thank our wonderful team of dedicated therapists and nurses and all staff who continue to place their duty of care to our patients at the forefront of their work.

Increased Patient Communications

Patients are receiving regular communications from staff through community meetings, special noticeboards and with their Unit Lead Therapists. Family members and Friends of Castle Craig can keep up to date on the latest developments on our website and through social media or by calling us on 01721 722763. This web page will be updated frequently.

Ongoing Monitoring of the Situation Through the Most Reliable Channels

We are monitoring all developments on the Coronavirus front, news and recommendations from Health Protection Scotland, the Government and Chief Medical Officer and the WHO to ensure that current best-practices keep our patients and staff healthy and safe. This is a dynamic and changing situation so we will continue to monitor updates to the situation and will respond accordingly.

Our Commitment to Patients, their Families and our Staff

As a medical establishment our patients’ treatment and safety remain our primary concern. We are taking these steps in a careful and thoughtful manner to ensure that our patients can continue to receive the highest level of care in the safest possible environment and to ensure staff safety. We thank our patients, their families and our referral network for the trust placed in us at this time and we are confident that we have the clinical and managerial expertise as well as top facilities available to us on our estate, to face the challenges presented at this time.

For more information about coronavirus visit the NHS coronavirus page or read the latest government advice.

For more information on any of the above please contact us on or by phone on 0808 231 9583.

With kind regards,

Dr Margaret McCann, MD, CEO


Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | June 14, 2021