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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Update

coronavirus castle craig rehab clinic update

Castle Craig is open and safe and we continue to offer our much needed residential addiction treatment for patients during the Coronavirus pandemic.

A Message from our CEO, Dr Margaret McCann

Information on Actions & Measures Taken at Castle Craig Hospital

Castle Craig Hospital continues to provide access to essential acute medical and clinical care during this period of unprecedented health threat posed by the pandemic of coronavirus (Covid-19). Alcohol and substance use disorders are amongst the most prevalent of mental health disorders globally.

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.

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.

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.

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 hands-on therapies, which require close physical contact for a long period, are not allowed to be made available e.g. aromatherapy massage and head massage. When the government guidelines are relaxed we will look at introducing these therapies again. Some staff are shielding and in accordance with government guidelines they cannot come into work; due to this we cannot offer equine therapy, however we are still offering our daily alpaca walks which are very popular, dog walking is an option, and other animals such as our pigs, sheep and the abundant wildlife are still onsite for patients to interact with and enjoy.

We are pleased that we can provide an art workshop and drumming therapy. 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 country walks, yoga stretching and pilates.  

As soon as the restrictions have been lifted and we believe it is safe for our patients, we will reintroduce these components of our treatment programme.

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 now 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, 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.

We are able to arrange private transport from anywhere in the UK.

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 PCR (antigen) tested for coronavirus 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.

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. 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.

We have launched Castle Telehealth, an online addiction treatment programme within a framework of individual therapy, group therapy and psychoeducational lectures and workshops to those are suffering from addiction, anxiety, stress, depression and the concern of relapse at this time. For the latest information contact our Admissions Team.

Castle Craig has offered a teletherapy 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. Patients with a therapist who is self-isolating at home are able to have ‘face-to-face’ sessions over Zoom. The feedback we have received on this has been very positive.


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 [email protected] or by phone on 0808 231 9583.


With kind regards,

Dr Margaret McCann, MD, CEO