This page contains all the latest information for patients and visitors about how we are responding to coronavirus (COVID-19).  

To protect patients, visitors and staff, existing safety measures remain in place across our sites. Many restrictions applicable in the wider community were lifted on 19 July, as we are making good progress against the virus with high levels of COVID vaccination. Despite this, many visiting and admission restrictions at UCLH need to remain in place.  

We treat a lot of vulnerable patients, for example cancer patients, and so we must continue to take extra precautions to keep them safe. These include social distancing (at least two metres), wearing a mask when you are visiting or attending our hospitals and outpatient clinics, and careful hand hygiene.  

Please do not come to UCLH if you have COVID-19 symptoms. 

We regret any difficulties these arrangements may cause. They are in place to protect patients, staff and visitors. We ask for your understanding and cooperation at this time. 

Click on the tabs below to find out more.

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 experiencing 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.

The NHS remains open for business and we are here for you when you need to access our services.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic many of our services were disrupted while we dealt with the large numbers of COVID-19 patients in our care. We have now restarted all of our services. The care and safety of our patients, staff and local communities remains our top priority.

Click here to find out more

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. 

We are pleased to be able to announce that, in line with changes to the government restrictions, we are changing some of our visiting rules.

Following a successful pilot at other hospitals in north central London, from 19 July, family members are able to book visits to some of our inpatient wards. Visiting remains restricted in wards where patients have been self-isolating, including those coming in for surgery and those COVID-19 positive.

A flexible approach will continue to be allowed in exceptional circumstances. Your clinical team will let you know what is appropriate for you and your loved ones. We still recommend virtual visits where possible.

Visitors must be over 16, and must not have recently travelled to “amber list” or “red list” countries.

Despite relaxation in the community, they must wear a face mask when entering the hospital and then the relevant PPE for the area they are visiting, use the hand sanitiser provided and follow social distancing and one-way routes.

Visits 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.

Visits are limited to one agreed visitor – an immediate family member or carer – as agreed with the patient. Please make sure you bring confirmation of your visiting appointment to the hospital to ensure you smooth entrance to the hospital.

Visitors are 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 (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, and
  • The maximum duration of a visit.

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 for booked or exceptional visits

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

All visitors will need a security ID badge during this time. Please contact the ward or unit in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements. The ward team will provide a letter of authorisation which you will need to bring with you. 

  • On the day, you will be issued with a security ID badge on the day of your visit
  • When you arrive, show your authorisation letter at the door and 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 the 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 restrictions on some areas 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 asked 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.

On-site testing services are by appointment only. Please only come for a test if you have a booking.

Alternatively, the hospital may arrange for a test to be sent to your home or you may request one via the national booking system by selecting the option “a GP or health professional has asked you to get a test” at this link: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test  

For patients who don't have access to the internet, they can call 0800 0511 811 to arrange for a courier collection and to register their test kit. For those that don't have a mobile phone, patients can use a landline to book the collection.

If you have any questions about this, please talk to your clinical team.

 

We would like to reassure you that it is safe to visit UCLH and we are doing all we can to ensure we offer the very best care and support, in the safest and most convenient way possible.   

Please be aware that the Government's 'COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021' guidance states that: "Health and care settings will continue to maintain appropriate infection prevention and control processes as necessary and this will be continually reviewed. Guidance will be updated based on the latest clinical evidence this summer." You can find this online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-summer-2021 

This means that all visitors are required to wear a face mask, keep a safe distance and clean their hands with gel in all our buildings. This will help us keep our most vulnerable patients safe and is important even if you’ve been fully vaccinated. 

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”.

Helping everyone to stay safe – face masks at UCLH

Helping everyone to stay safe – wearing face masks when visiting UCLH