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. Currently no visitors are allowed with the exception of:
- Patients at the end of their life
- Patients with specific care needs (such as dementia or other disabilities) where this has been agreed with the relevant matron or director of nursing.
In these instances, only one nominated visitor is allowed each day with no option to swap. The maximum duration of the visit is one hour per day. 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.
- Children's services (please see below for specific exceptions)
- Having a baby in our Maternity Unit (please see below for specific exceptions)
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.
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 you're having your first scan (otherwise known as a dating scan)||1 nominated adult can accompany you|
If you are having your 20 week antenatal scan
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, a nominated person can stay with you.
|After your birth||1 nominated birth partner during the allocated, once a day 2 hour timeframe whilst on our postnatal ward.|
If your child is in neo-natal intensive care
Both parents will be allowed to visit but only 1 parent will be allowed to be present at the baby's cotside
Please use the maternity entrance, located just off Sterling Way, to enter the hospital for the purpose of visiting, if you are having a baby at North Mid.
As we limited 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, Whatsapp, Skype or Zoom. 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.
Temporary pause for all non-urgent North Mid services
North Mid is extremely busy at the moment, looking after very high numbers of very sick people, and the hospital is getting even busier.
The exceedingly high levels of covid-19 virus in our local community have put enormous pressure on our staff and services.
Using all the information we have about the virus, its impact and its infectiousness, we anticipate that the current pressures are likely to continue for some weeks.
All non-emergency services temporarily paused
We have therefore taken the very difficult decision to stop all non-emergency activity on a temporary basis. This will allow us to continue to safely look after patients, who need urgent, emergency and covid-19 care.
Time-critical cancer treatment and diagnostics to continue
We will continue providing cancer treatments and diagnostic procedures which are time-critical.
Our highest priority is keeping patients and staff safe, and we do this by working hard to meet the strictest standards of infection control, deep cleaning, and space management, including protecting patients who are virus free.
We realise that this will be hugely disappointing for some patients who are waiting for an operation or other procedure, some of whom have been self-isolating before coming into hospital, and this is not a decision we take lightly. However, due to the fast-changing development of the virus and the significant recent increase in rates of infection locally, we are unable to keep patients, staff and services safe without taking this step, which will help us free up vital staff and wards to care for patients who need the most urgent care.
Difficult decision but safety is most important
We will be contacting all patients who are affected by this decision – if you don’t hear from us, please come to your appointment as normal. We are taking this difficult decision to help ensure patients who need to come to North Mid are kept safe.
We are extremely grateful to staff and local people who have helped us by working extra shifts, and showing kindness through donations, refreshments, and other generous acts. We are proud and grateful to be part of such an amazing local community.
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.