COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information for patients and visitors  

30/07/2020 00:00 
This page is being updated regularly to reflect the changing situation. Please check back regularly for the latest information. To know when this story was last updated, please look to the date above.
 

Please do not come to the hospital if you have either:

  • a high temperature of over 37.8 degrees – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Stay at home. Do not travel. Check the latest guidance at: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

  • If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed. 
  •  If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online, call 111. 
  •  If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999 
  •  If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.

You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to attend. Please attend these appointments alone, unless you have a designated carer that needs to attend your appointment with you. We also ask that at the current time you do not bring children to the hospital unless they are a patient. Information below provides updates on any changes to our services.

  • Changes to urgent and emergency care in London

    The NHS is changing how people access urgent and emergency care in London.

    We are making it easier and safer for patients to be seen in an Emergency Department (ED) or Accident and Emergency (A&E) department without waiting for long periods of time.

    Find out more

  • Visiting the hospital

    To protect our patients and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we need to continue to limit visitors to our hospitals. We still recommend virtual visits where possible.

    We need to balance the risk of visiting to all involved. We do understand that in some circumstances, the benefit to some of our patients and their families or loved ones outweighs the public health risk.

    So we have made the criteria around visitors more explicit, and put in place some measures to ensure safe visiting where possible. We will continue to monitor the situation as we remain vigilant to the level of COVID-19 in our local communities.

    Please do not attend unless you have been authorised to do so, as you may be refused entry and in our experience this can cause distress for you and our staff.

    Visitors will only be considered in exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit.

    These include:

    • one regular carer for a patient with additional needs, e.g. dementia or learning difficulties
    • one parent/guardian for a child
    • one person accompanying a woman in labour (more detailed information can be found on our maternity pages)
    • for a patient receiving end of life care
    • for a patient where a change in treatment would benefit from a meaningful exchange
    • one close relative for a long-stay patient where a visit would improve wellbeing

     

    Information for visitors (who are allowed in exceptional circumstances)

    Once authorised, we ask that the same allocated visitor should come into the ward, except for parents of a child who may alternate.

    Visitors must be over 16, as we do not have suitable PPE for children.

    You must pre-book your visit with the ward team.

    All visitors will need a security ID badge during this time. Please contact the ward or unit in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements.

    • Once authorisation has been agreed in advance, you will be issued with a security ID badge on the day of your visit
    • When you arrive, please go to the security desk at the building reception who should have a list of names of those who have been agreed to visit
    • Security will ask you some questions and take a photo for your ID badge
    • You should clearly display your ID badge during your visit and hand it back to security when you leave
    • The ID badge is dated and only valid on the day of your visit (If you are an identified carer you will be given a different badge with a longer timeframe to reduce the need to complete this every day).

    Any visitor with a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or loss of smell or taste will not be admitted.

    Any visitor that is admitted will need to wear the relevant PPE for the area they are visiting, use the hand sanitiser provided and follow social distancing and one way routes.

    Limits may be applied to the duration and frequency of visits based on the needs of the unit and ensuring equity of access. The exception is regular carers where support may be needed every day.

    Please continue to find other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones in hospital, like phone and video calls.

    Your health, safety and wellbeing and that of our patients, communities and individuals and teams across the organisation remain our absolute priority.

    We would like to thank you for your co-operation and understanding at the difficult time.

  • Testing patients for COVID-19

    If you are admitted to our hospital, either overnight, or for day surgery, you will be tested to see if you have COVID-19. This includes patients who may not have any symptoms of COVID-19. You will be advised if you need a test and one will be booked for you. All our testing services are by appointment only. Please only come for a test if you have a booking. If you have any questions about this, please talk to your clinical team. Find out more.
  • Book your blood test (phlebotomy) appointment

    If your doctor referred you for a blood test, please book your phlebotomy (blood test) appointment online in advance. The new system helps to keep patients safer through social distancing by reducing the number of patients in any one location at a specific time. At the moment, you can only book your appointment up to seven days in advance.

    You’ll find information on how to do this in the Phlebotomy information section

  • Face coverings when coming to the hospital

    People infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

    In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) from Monday, 15 June 2020 you will need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital as an outpatient, or where permitted, as a visitor. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.

    Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found at gov.uk/coronavirus. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

    Please plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, or we can provide you with one when you arrive. Children and babies under three years do not need to wear a face covering.

    If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this.

    For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival.

    Please also follow social distancing, one way systems and hand hygiene measures during your hospital visit to help us keep the hospital safe from COVID-19.

  • Service updates

  • Temporary changes to our children's and young people's emergency department

    Please note - as part of our work to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak our children and young people’s emergency department is still temporarily diverted to the Whittington Hospital, Emergency Department, Magdala Avenue, London, N19 5NF.

    Anyone aged under 18 needing care for an accident or an emergency, should go to the Whittington Hospital.

    The University College Hospital Emergency Department remains open for adults (people over 18 years old).

    If you urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a life-threatening situation or if you don’t know who to ring, check NHS 111 online.

  • Contacting your loved ones

    During this time of visiting restrictions, we have introduced "Letters To Loved Ones" at UCLH.

    If you want to send your loved one a message or letter on a ward in one of our hospitals, just email your message to uclh.letterstolovedones@nhs.net . You may also want to attach a photograph or picture if you wish. We kindly ask that you try and keep your letter to no more than two pages and to not include more than three photos or images per message.

    Find out more

  • Changes to appointments

    We may contact you to change your appointment to a telephone or video appointment or to inform you if we need to reschedule or postpone your planned visit. Visit this webpage for more information about outpatient video clinics and how you need to set this up.

    If you need to rearrange your appointment please phone the number listed on your appointment letter.

    Many drop in and walk in advice services will not be operating as usual. Please email the service you wish to access and check. They may be offering telephone advice or other means of advice.

  • Interpreter services

    While the coronavirus situation is ongoing, interpreter services will be available via telephone or video call only. There will only be exceptions where we cannot provide urgent care to a patient without an interpreter.

    You or your family member will be offered a telephone interpreter if you usually have a face-to-face interpreter for your outpatient appointment.

    Remote interpreters will be booked if you are having an appointment by telephone or video. Please speak to your healthcare team if you have any concerns.

  • Surgical plans

    We have now ceased carrying out routine elective surgery at UCLH. Plans are in place for emergency surgery, such as treatment of patients with urgent life theatening or limb conditions. Maternity services to continue.
  • Transport issues

    TFL Rail and other transport companies are running reduced services from next week. You can see information on what TFL services are affected here

    For other rail companies, please check their individual websites.

  • NHS 111 online support via text message for people with Covid-19 symptoms

    People self-isolating with suspected coronavirus symptoms will now get regular check-ins from a new NHS 111 online messaging service.

    Once individuals have been through the online assessment, daily texts will be sent to those who have registered their Covid-19 symptoms and left contact details.

    Depending on the duration of their isolation, the daily messages will check how people are and ensure that those who need help to get them through that period, receive it. The text messages are sent from NHS Covid-19. 111.nhs.uk takes you to the NHS 111 online assessment pages, should you want to signpost people to it and the new service. The new text messaging service has been commissioned by NHSX and built by NHS Digital and the NHS Business Services Authority.

  • GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service

    A new GOV.UK WhatsApp coronavirus information service has now been launched. The purpose of this product is to combat the spread of misinformation propagated through WhatsApp on an official government channel. To use the service, simply add +44 7860 064422 to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”.