Coming to hospital during the coronavirus pandemic
We are open for business and it's safe for anyone to seek help when needed. Your first port of call should be NHS 111 unless it's a life-changing emergency.
We are adapting so our staff can continue to care for our patients safely while the coronavirus remains a threat to everyone’s health. We currently have restrictions in place for people visiting our hospitals, you will have your temperature checked when you arrive at the hospital and you will have to wear a face covering when entering our buildings.
Visiting arrangements during the coronavirus pandemic
In order to protect the health of our patients, staff and local community, we have taken the difficult decision to limit all but essential visiting to our hospital.
With the exception of:
- Patients at end of life, if not Covid-19 positive (2 nominated visitors per day, dependent on bed arrangements for patient)
- Patients at end of life who are Covid-19 positive (1 nominated visitor as a one off for 30 mins – visitor must self-isolate as per government guidelines following visit)
- Children’s services
- Maternity services (as of 12th April 2021)
Please come via our main entrance with photo identification. If you have any mobility issues, we are happy to provide assistance while you are making your visit.
All visitors will be asked about health and coronavirus symptoms before being permitted access into the hospitals, temperature checks will be taken and you will be given a mask to wear througout your visit.
We are working towards opening up visiting to all areas of the hospital but we are doing this in line with national guidance to help prevent the spread of infection. Please check back on this page as it is regularly updated.
If this visiting policy causes you any worry or extreme concern, please contact our Patient Liaison and Advice Service.
Paediatric Day Assessment Unit (PDAU) & Paediatric Assessment Unit
1 nominated parent or guardian over 18yrs may accompany their child
If the child is an inpatient (non COVID)
2 nominated parents or guardians may visit on alternate days with permission to stay overnight.
The parents or guardians will not be able to visit together unless in exceptional circumstances requested by clinical teams.
If the child is an inpatient and has diagnosed or suspected covid-19
1 nominated parent or guardian to stay with the child and will have to self isolate as per government guidelines.
If the patient has dementia, learning disabilities or mental health issues
Visitors will need to have a valid carers passport.
In the absence of a carers passport where a patient/carer is requesting to visit to support the physical and emotional needs of the patient an individualised conversation should take place with the a very senior nurse (divisional associate director of nursing or divisional director of nursing) to agree visiting and the amount of visiting.
We have changed our visiting and accompaniment arrangements, in line with Government guidelines from Monday 12 April 2021:
- For all antenatal clinic and ultrasound appointments, 1 nominated adult can accompany you
- If you are in labour or having a planned caesarean section (C-section), 1 nominated adult can come with you.
- If you are booked for an induction of labour, 1 nominated adult can stay with you.
- After you give birth, 1 nominated birth partner can be with you on the postnatal ward during the 2 hour period allocated each day.
- If your child is in neo-natal intensive care, both parents can visit, but only 1 parent will be allowed at the baby's cotside.
Partners will need to wear a surgical mask to visit. We will give you a suitable mask at the entrance to the maternity unit. For safety, we continue to socially distance within the maternity department, so please do not bring other children to appointments. For visitors of those having a baby, please use the maternity entrance, located just off Sterling Way.
As we have reduced face-to-face visiting, we put in place other options to connect our patients and their families:
- you can request a ‘virtual’ visit via FaceTime and Skype. Please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service to arrange this.
- you can send your loved one a patient message. Please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service to arrange this on 020 8887 3172 or email our PALS team on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a relative of a patient and want more information, please call 020 8887 3172 or email our PALS team on email@example.com.
We are committed to keeping our patients, staff and local community safe, and our multi-professional ethics panel is currently reviewing this updated guidance before confirming whether we need to make any changes to our currrent visiting arrangments.
Please check back to this section of our website regularly for latest information and guidance, particulalry before undertaking any visits.
Animations help families understand common Covid-19 treatments
A series of short films created by cardiologist Professor David Wald are helping families to understand how their loved ones are treated for Covid-19 in intensive care.
The animations, which are available through the award winning Explain my Procedure website, reveal, in simple terms, what goes on in an intensive care unit or ICU, from the role of staff to common treatments such as mechanical ventilation and a tracheostomy.
The films are just a few minutes long and have been translated from English into a number of common languages, including Turkish, Polish, Hindi and Bengali.
Explainmyprocedure.com features short animations on a range of medical interventions such as cardiology, orthopaedic and general surgery.
It has shown to substantially improve understanding among patients, before they consent to medical and surgical procedures.
The website won the HSJ Award for Digitising Patient Services in 2019 and the BMJ Award for Digital Innovation Team of the Year in 2020.
The latest project demystifying the intensive care unit is supported by the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and endorsed by the Intensive Care Society.
Stay in touch with a friend or relative who is a patient
We know how important it is for families to stay in touch with relatives who are patients in our wards.
Because we have had to restrict visitors to reduce infection risks, we have added new ways to keep in contact:
- email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass on your message on a handmade card
- use our donated phones and tablets to Skype or FaceTime your relative - contact our PALS team to arrange on 020 8887 3172 or email@example.com
- we can provide a phone for your relative to call you - ask our PALS team to help.
Dropping off food to our patients
While we provide a wide variety of food for patients, you are welcome to drop off food to your relatives.
Please drop this off at the main entrance of the hospital and arrangements will be made for it to be dropped to your loved one.
Please note that we are unable to heat food that is delivered.
Wearing a face mask at the hospital
From Monday 15 June 2020 you will need to wear a face mask when you come to hospital as a visitor or outpatient.
We will provide you with a face mask on arrival at the hospital.
For some people, wearing a face mask may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis.
If you are deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.
All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face masks while in hospital.
Download the NHS Test and Trace App
The NHS Covid-19 test and trace app aims to alert people when they have been near someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, allow people to check their symptoms, and ‘check-in’ to places they visit using a QR code system.
How does the app work?
The NHS Covid-19 test and trace app can alert people about their exposure to people infected with Covid-19 faster than human contact tracers.
It uses Bluetooth to identify phones nearby, and can tell what distance other people are from you.
If you come into close proximity to someone who has had coronavirus symptoms, and has logged these symptoms into their app, you will receive an alert notification letting you know to self-isolate. The same applies if you have been in a pub, restaurant, or other kind of hospitality venue at the same time as someone who has the symptoms.
Check in via QR code
You can ‘check in’ to venues on entry by scanning a QR code.
We have placed QR codes around the hospital for you to check in via the NHS Test and Trace App.
You will then receive an alert if someone who was in the venue at the same time as you logs symptoms.
How do I download the app?
The app will be available to download on the Apple Store and Google Play straight onto your smartphone.
Protecting our staff to help keep you safe
We have introduced a number of measures to help protect our staff while they continue to care for our local community. This includes:
- Wearing surgical masks at work
- Providing non-surgical masks for staff when they are travelling to and from work
- Providing uniform wash bags so staff can store, transport and wash their uniforms once home from a busy shift, without the worry of cross-contamination
- Temperature checking all staff when they enter any building on hospital grounds
- Providing testing to assess if staff have had Covid-19 and if they have the virus
- Introduced socially distanced seating in our restaurant and reception areas
- Increased cleaning and sanitising of facilities
- Wherever possible we have increased ventilation of rooms
- Installed perspex screens in the majority of our waiting areas
- Significantly reduced face to face meetings
On top of this we have worked with other London Trusts, our Trade Unions and our staff led equality networks to develop an assessment tool for the risk of adverse or serious reactions to Covid-19. We have offered this risk assessment to all of our staff. We want to support and protect all our staff; particularly those staff groups that have been identified at a national level as disproportionally affected by the pandemic. This includes members of staff who are over 60, pregnant, have long term health conditions and are Black, Asian and minority ethnic.