This page contains all the latest information for patients and visitors about how we are responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Click on the tabs below to read more about how to access our services and what changes are currently in place at our hospitals.

We apologise for any difficulties these arrangements may cause, and ask for your understanding at this time.

Check the latest COVID-19 guidance at: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

  •  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, call NHS 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.

  • If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed.

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.

If you have an appointment but are experience any of the COVID-19 symptoms: a high temperature of over 37.8 degrees, a new continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - inform your clinical team immediately and do not come to the hospital.

You can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment now if you are one of the eligible groups mentioned on the NHS website

You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or a pharmacy that provides COVID-19 vaccinations.

You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.

If you are in one of these categories and haven’t been contacted by the NHS yet, you can now book:
•    Online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination 
•    Or by calling 119 free of charge 

Please bring your booking reference number with you  when you come to your vaccination appointment  and please bring a face covering and wear this at all times unless you cannot wear one for a health or disability reason. 

Please help us to see you more quickly by having the following information ready: your NHS number, GP details, details of your emergency contact.  

 

UCLH is currently contacting people who are eligible to have the COVID-19 vaccine. If we contact you, you will receive a text message inviting you to book an appointment at University College Hospital via a link to our uclh.covmis.co.uk booking system. It is not a scam. If you have any concerns please contact uclh.covidvacc@nhs.net

Please note that we will not be able to offer you the vaccine unless you have an appointment and we do not provide a walk-in service.

There are still some restrictions on travel across England. However, you can still travel to UCLH for medical reasons, including for your appointments and for emergency care. We have extra precautions in place to keep you safe. 

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 understand that for many this is a really difficult time. UCLH wouldn’t choose to restrict visitors unless it was absolutely necessary to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Visitors must be over 16, and the visit must be pre-booked with the ward team. Please do not come in unless you have been authorised to do so, as you may be refused entry. 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 (more detailed information can be found on our children and young people's services pages)
  • one person with you at key stages during your pregnancy, including labour and birth (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.

Please note that it’s the clinical team looking after the patient who decides:

  • Who is allowed to visit
  • The maximum duration of a visit, and
  • The number of visits per week by the same visitor.

Due to the recent rise in COVID cases, our clinical teams are stricter in what they allow, this is to ensure no cross-contamination between visitors, to ensure social distancing can be met and that our risk mitigation is not compromised.

Alternatives to a face-to-face visit

  • Virtual visits: Volunteers and staff can help patients stay in touch with friends and family via virtual calls, for example providing iPads and assisting with mobile phones.
  • “Letters to Loved Ones”: Family and friends can send patients a message or letter by emailing our dedicated inbox letterstolovedones@nhs.net. They may like to attach photographs or images to share. Staff will print them and deliver them to the patients.

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 and the visit must be pre-booked 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 this difficult time. We regret having to impose these restrictions in the interest of safety, which we recognise may cause difficulty for patients and their families.

If you are admitted to our hospital, you will be advised to have a COVID-19 test three or four days before admission and self-isolate from the day of the test until the day of admission. 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.

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

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

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) 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.

As well as shielding patients, following new guidance, all patients admitted to UCLH who can tolerate wearing a surgical face mask should wear one when: 

  • moving around the ward e.g. going to the toilet 
  • staff are by the bedside delivering and/or discussing care

See our patient leaflet on how to best wear a surgical face mask and how to dispose of it after use on the UCLH wards.

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.

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.

We are managing the risk of infection to make sure that patients coming into hospital for planned care, and staff working in hospitals, will be as safe as possible.  However, we are asking all our patients to take the following steps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 inside our hospitals.

Before your admission: 

  • You will need to follow comprehensive social-distancing and hand-hygiene measures for 14 days before admission. 

  • You will need to have a COVID-19 test 3 or 4 days before admission (depending on your 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. 

The required self-isolation period before admission may vary based on each patient’s individual risk. One of the team will talk to you about the period of time you should self-isolate.  

During your stay

All patients admitted to our hospitals, who can tolerate wearing a surgical face mask, should wear one when: 

  • moving around the ward e.g. going to the toilet 
  • staff are by the bedside delivering and/or discussing care

See our patient leaflet on how to best wear a surgical face mask and how to dispose of it after use on the UCLH wards.

When you go home: 

  • You should always follow all the instructions given to you on your discharge letter.  

  • Follow up outpatient appointments may now take place over the telephone or via video consultation. Our staff will discuss this with you.  

 

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.

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 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

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 to check: they may be offering telephone or other types of advice.

The Cashier’s Offices at University College Hospital, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine are currently closed.

To find out how you can reclaim travel expenses (subject to eligibility) please visit our help with travel costs page for the most up-to-date information.

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.

We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

NHS 111 Online and the NHS website offer the most up-to-date resources for people who suspect they have caught coronavirus, or are looking for more information on COVID-19. Please contact NHS 111 or the NHS website to learn more.

On behalf of Public Health England Office for London, Thrive LDN is coordinating the public mental health response to COVID-19 in London to support the mental health and resilience of Londoners during and after the pandemic. Please visit their website for citywide public mental health resources.

GOV.UK has set up a WhatsApp coronavirus information service to combat the spread of misinformation propagated through WhatsApp on an official government channel. To use the service, simply add 07860 064 422 to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”.