October 2022: Numbers of COVID-19 cases and other respiratory viruses are rising again in the community. Please contact the ward before visiting as restrictions may apply.

The period of COVID-19 has been a very difficult time for patients, visitors, and staff in terms of restricting face to face visiting and reducing the risk of infection in our hospitals.  

Because many of our patients are elderly or immune-compromised, infection control policies remain in place with the trust. This includes wearing a face covering while you are inside our buildings and adhering to hand hygiene and social distancing rules. Thank you for your understanding and keeping patients, visitors and staff safe from infection.  

The following types of visiting are now being offered for patients in our hospitals: 

Adult inpatients

Face-to-face visiting is now allowed for two visitors between the hours of 2pm and 7pm. 

To keep patient, staff and visitor safe, we are maintaining a degree of social distancing on our wards. We may ask visitors to wait outside the ward to help limit the numbers of people in our bays at any one time. Family or friends can visit at different times during visiting hours. 

All visitors must wear a face mask when entering the hospital and then the relevant PPE (personal protective equipment) for the area they are visiting, use the hand sanitiser provided and follow social distancing. 

Compassionate visits may be allowed outside of these core hours where patients meet the specific criteria: 

  • They are dying (last days and hours of life) 
  • They have a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism 
  • Where the attendance of a key contact will benefit a patient's clinical condition or wellbeing (ward staff will get in touch if a visit will be beneficial) 

Children over the age of 16 years are treated as an adult and are permitted to visit. Children between the age of 11 and16 can only visit in exceptional circumstances and this must be arranged directly with the matron and consultant. Any arrangements for children under the age of 11 need to be discussed with the matron on an individual basis.  

We would encourage visitors to take a lateral flow test before attending hospital, though this is no longer a mandatory requirement. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, cold or flu, or if you feel unwell, please do not attend the hospital.

Additional information for your visit 

We have also implemented some additional health and safety measures at this time to keep everyone safe: 

  • You will need to have called the ward you wish to visit in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements and to provide your contact details for Covid-19 contact tracing if necessary 
  • Please do not eat or drink whilst visiting the ward 
  • You will not be able to use the toilets on the ward you are visiting. Please use the public toilets located in our hospitals 
  • Please do not sit on beds, we will provide chairs for you to sit on 
  • Patients with COVID-19 cannot have visitors until they have had a negative swab result. This should take 24 hours. 
  • Please do not visit if you have been self-isolating before your visit or have tested positive for COVID-19 
  • Do write down any questions you have before arriving at the hospital as you may forget; you can bring in cards / letters from other family members and friends too 
  • Please follow national guidance when travelling to and from the hospital to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus 
  • Please bring as few belongings as possible e.g. bags to minimise the risk of infection 

Thank you for your co-operation and help in respecting these changes. 

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 

Visiting guidance for other areas of our hospitals 

Outpatient appointments 

There is ongoing prevalence of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses in the community, however you are able to bring one person with you if you are attending an outpatient appointment in our hospitals. Please be aware space in our waiting areas is limited. 

Emergency department 

We are currently accommodating our patients’ needs for a companion as much as possible, but we need to do this as safely as possible for everybody and also take account of over-crowding in the department. Those attending with minor injury or illness will be expected to do so alone. However, one close family contact is permitted to accompany a patient to support them with complex/difficult decision making if: 

  • The patient is a child – both parents are allowed as we have a separate waiting area 
  • The patient has dementia 
  • The patient has a learning disability 
  • The patient lives with mental ill health 
  • The patient attends with major injury or illness – the visitor will be asked to wait until the patient is in separate cubicle 
COVID-19 information for patients and visitors

October 2022: Numbers of COVID-19 cases and other respiratory viruses are rising again in the community. Please contact the ward before visiting as restrictions may apply.

The latest information for patients and visitors about how we are responding to coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Following national guidance, we request that all visitors still wear a face mask, keep a safe distance, and clean their hands with gel in all our buildings. Even when someone has been fully vaccinated and despite relaxations of restrictions in the community.
 
We are doing all we can to ensure we offer the very best care and support, in the safest and most convenient way possible, for all patients including the ones who are most vulnerable. Please, help us keep them safe.  

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

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 all appointments and the emergency department (A&E) alone unless you have a designated carer that needs to assist you. We also ask that at the current time you do not bring children to the hospital unless they are a patient. A friend, carer or family member can collect you from the entrance of the hospital when you are leaving. If you need help to get to the entrance to meet them, one of our porters or nursing staff will help you.

If you have an appointment but are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms inform your clinical team immediately and do not come to the hospital.

Click on the tabs below to find out more.

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, and 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.  

 

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. 

Updated: 21 April 2022
 
The guidance around testing is changing. You may receive a text message from UCLH updating you about what you need to do before coming to hospital. 
 
If you are due to be admitted to our hospital, you may be scheduled to have a PCR test onsite. If you do, please make sure you attend that appointment. If you have been sent a PCR test kit via post instead, please proceed with that test. 

If you do not have a PCR test appointment booked with us, have not received a PCR test kit already or are unable to order a PCR test online, please take a rapid lateral flow test in the 72 hours before you are due to be admitted instead. 

Use this link to order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests.
 
Please stay at home as much as possible. If you go out, please limit the number of people you meet and wear a mask. Call the number on your appointment letter if you have a positive result or have questions.
 
On-site testing services are by appointment only. Please only come for a test if you have a booking.
 
Alternatively, the hospital may have arranged for a test to be sent to your home. 
 
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.
 

 

Please be aware that the Government's ‘Living safely with respiratory infections, including COVID-19’ guidance asks that people: 

  • “When you are coming into close contact with someone at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19 or other respiratory infections”

You can find this online

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 have a COVID-19 test 72 hours before admission (depending on your procedure). If you test positive, it is important that you let your clinical team know. 

You don’t need to self-isolate afterward, but please try to stay at home as much as possible, and if you go out, please limit the number of people you meet and wear a mask whenever possible.  

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