Caring for patients during the coronavirus pandemic 

We have made some changes in our hospitals to manage the risk of infection so that patients coming into hospital for urgent planned care, and staff working in hospitals, are as safe as possible.

  • As far as we possibly can, we are separating/physically distancing facilities where we care for patients who have tested positive for coronavirus or who may have symptoms of coronavirus, and all other patients who are being treated for urgent planned care.
  • We are following national guidance for infection prevention and all our staff are trained in how to limit the spread of infection in hospitals.
  • Our hospital departments and equipment are being cleaned more regularly, in line with national guidance.
  • We have introduced additional guidance around wearing face coverings on site, social distancing and following one way routes.
  • The right levels of staffing and equipment will be in place so that your treatment or procedure can take place safely.

These changes may mean some services are temporarily delivered in different locations, or your appointment might be in a different place than previously communicated. You may also see a different clinician than you expected or we may need to move your appointment date. We will always give you as much notice as possible of any changes.

When you are in hospital, most staff will be wearing some personal protective equipment (PPE) – this may be a surgical mask and plastic apron or may be ‘full’ PPE depending on the area. Full PPE may cover much of the person’s face (by a mask and a visor or goggles). This might seem strange, but please do not be intimidated by it and do continue to speak to staff and ask questions as you normally would.

If you have hearing difficulties, and particularly if you rely on lip reading, please make staff aware of this so that they can make changes to how they communicate with you. For example, some department’s staff may use flashcards or a white board to communicate.

  • Information for patients

    In order to minimise the risk of you becoming infected with coronavirus, and to ensure that we can protect our staff and other patients, we are asking all patients to do the following. It is very important that you follow these instructions for your health and the health of hospital staff and other patients.
  • Before you visit

    To help you maintain social distancing and reduce travelling to hospital you may be offered an online or telephone consultation before your treatment or procedure, rather than be asked to attend appointments in person.

    You must let us know if you think you have symptoms including a high temperature, new continuous cough, or loss or change in your sense of smell or taste. You should also let us know if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus within 14 days of your visit or stay.

  • Coming to the hospital

    Please do not come for your appointment if you have symptoms of COVID-19 which includes any of the following: a fever, continuous cough or you have lost your sense of taste or smell.


    If you are not showing any symptoms, then please wear a face covering or mask from when you leave your house until you arrive at the department if possible. You may also be asked to wear a face mask for the period of your treatment or stay. There are security staff and volunteers at all our entrances who will ask you to use hand sanitiser and have masks available for those who need one.

    Please follow social distancing rules when at the hospital and make every effort to stay at least two metres from other patients and staff during your stay. Lifts are clearly signposted with the numbers of people allowed in at any one time.

    The entrance or route you use to access the ward or department may be different to usual, so please check the signage and follow only the route indicated.

    To reduce the risk of infection please do not bring anyone else with you to the hospital. However, some patients, such as those with learning difficulties or dementia, are permitted to bring a carer with them.

    If you have any concerns, please consult the visitor information section on our website or speak with your clinical team. Contact details are in your appointment letter.

  • Additional information for inpatients

    Please follow comprehensive social-distancing and hand-hygiene measures for 14 days before admission. You will be advised to have a COVID-19 test a few days before admission and self-isolate from the day of the test until the day of admission.

    You should also let us know if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus within 14 days of your operation procedure.

    Your operation will not take place if you test positive for coronavirus unless it is very urgent or considered an emergency by the clinical team.

    It is important that you do not use public transport to come to hospital for your admission. We recommend that you come in private car, taxi or you may be able to get support from volunteers by calling 0808 196 3382 (8am – 8pm). If you are eligible you can use the patient transport service 

    At the current time, please be aware that you will not able to walk around the hospital or go outside during your stay, in order to reduce the risk of infection.