We understand that you may have concerns about COVID-19 (or coronavirus), especially if you need to come to hospital for an appointment, for treatment or to visit someone.
We’re doing everything possible to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe. The situation is constantly changing and we update this information as needed.
For the latest COVID-19 advice including guidelines, visit the Gov.UK website
For up-to-date health advice, visit the NHS website.
What to do if you think you have COVID-19
Please DO NOT come to hospital if you think you have symptoms or have recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Check if you have the main symptoms of COVID-19
Find out how to get a COVID-19 test
If you’re worried about your symptoms, or you’re unsure what to do, call 111 or use the 111 coronavirus online service
It’s really important that you continue to attend all booked appointments, unless:
- you have tested positive for COVID-19
- you have COVID-19 symptoms
- you need to self isolate.
If you can not attend, please call us on the telephone number on your appointment letter as soon as possible.
You must attend appointments alone unless you need support.
Find out more about what we’re doing to reduce the risk of infection and what to do if you’re attending an outpatient appointment.
Due to our current visiting restrictions, we’re sorry that not everyone can visit their loved ones in hospital. But we know how important it is for you to keep in touch.
We can arrange virtual visits and we can deliver personalised letters on your behalf.
Find out more about keeping in touch with relatives and friends
We recognise the important role family and friends play in supporting our patients during a stay in hospital. However, we need to limit visiting to protect against infection. Our visitor restrictions remain under review at all times.
Please see below for information on our current visiting restrictions.
We allow 1 visitor for one hour, once a day, seven days a week.
Each ward will register and identify a designated visitor before admitting a patient.
If you’re the designated visitor, we’ll call you with a designated visiting slot.
Taking a COVID-19 test before you visit
We encourage all visitors to take a lateral flow test before visiting and provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
Following current guidelines
You must wear a facemask, wash your hands regularly during visiting and follow current guidelines on social distancing.
Please pick up a surgical face mask and sanitise your hands at the entrance to the hospital.
Exceptions to visitor restrictions are in place for those who are supporting a person:
- with a learning disability, autism, or cognitive impairment such as dementia;
- with mental health problems;
- with communication challenges including hearing or visual impairment;
- for whom English is not their first language.
Exceptions are also in place for those:
- supporting a person in our maternity unit;
- visiting our children’s wards;
- visiting our spinal unit;
- visiting patients receiving end-of-life care.
See below for more information.
Other exceptions may be agreed by the ward manager or nurse in charge.
One designated person can attend all maternity appointments if they can provide evidence of a COVID-19 negative lateral flow test.
You must take the test within 72 hours of the appointment or visit. You can also provide evidence of a negative COVID-10 PCR swab test.
It’s your responsibility to order your test kit and record your results via the NHS COVID-19 app. We also accept an email print out of your result as evidence.
You must not attend any appointments if you develop COVID-19 symptoms since your negative test result. You must then self isolate following government guidelines.
If you do not want to take a lateral flow test or do not have time to take one
You can still attend a labour or planned caesarean but you can not visit our wards or attend antenatal and postnatal appointments.
If you tested positively for COVID-19 within the last 90 days
You will not be able to take a lateral flow test.
Please provide evidence of the date you received your positive test result. If you have completed your self isolation period and do not have a continued high temperature, you can:
- support your partner through labour and birth, or an elective caesarean
- accompany your partner to appointments
- visit the antenatal and postnatal wards.
Antenatal classes and drop-in sessions
We have cancelled these until further notice.
Community-based antenatal appointments
Check any local restrictions for appointments at GP surgeries or children’s centres.
Labour and birth supporters
You can support your partner in labour if you test negative for a lateral flow or PCR test.
You must also have completed a period of self isolation if you have tested positively.
A second birth supporter can attend the labour if they can show evidence of a negative COVID-19 lateral flow test that has been taken within the previous 72 hours or a negative COVID-19 PCR swab result.
Second birth partners can not attend additional areas of the maternity service.
An alternative supporter can visit wards and attend appointments with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Visiting the neonatal unit
One parent can visit at anytime.
Both parents can visit together at specific times by arrangement with the Neonatal Unit.
Both parents can visit a baby after labour if that baby needs transferal to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We’ll swab both parents for COVID-19.
One parent can be with their baby 24 hours a day. Parents can alternate.
Other visitors can book 2-hour slots with the nursing team.
Other visiting restrictions
We do not allow children to visit or attend appointments.
One parent or carer per family can stay with their child in hospital for a short period of time.
If your child needs to stay in hospital for more than 7 days, one parent or carer per family may swap with a second parent or carer for the next 7 day period.
You can accompany children aged 16-18 wherever they are in the hospital, including in adult wards.
We do not allow children to visit their siblings.
We allow 1 designated visitor on a pre-booked 3-hour time slot. The designated visitor must be the same person throughout the patient’s stay with us.
Tine slots and booking visits
We’ll contact the designated visitor to book visits.
We offer 3 visiting time slots, 7 days a week:
- 9am to 12 noon
- 2pm to 5pm
- 5.30pm to 8.30pm
Visiting exceptions and restrictions
Please see our ‘visiting restrictions’ and ‘visiting times and designated visitors’ information above.
Visiting our children’s ward (St Francis Ward)
Please see our ‘visiting children and young people’ information above.
Visits will take place on the ward for patients who can not leave their ward.
For patients who can leave their ward, visits will take place in Horatio’s Garden. Visitors must stay in the garden during their visit and can not exit and re-enter unless you need to use the toilet.
We allow one visitor for patients with learning disabilities. The visitor may be a family member or carer.
Find out more about how we help patients with learning disabilities, including useful resources about coming to hospital during COVID-19
We arrange visits for patients who are at the end of their life or receiving treatment in our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). We allow one visitor (someone in the immediate family, or a carer) on agreement with the nurse in charge.
If your child is receiving end of life care, we allow both parents to visit.
Wash your hands
COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria can stay on surfaces for some time. To protect yourself and your loved ones, please wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser as often as possible.
Try not to touch your face (including your mouth, nose and eyes) as this is an easy way to spread the virus.
Wear a face mask
It reduces the risk of you passing COVID-19 onto other patients and staff. All visitors and carers must wear face masks. You must wear your mask properly (covering your nose and mouth) at all times.
Keep your distance
Leave at least 2 metres between you and other people. It’s one of the main things you can do to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
Other ways to keep everyone safe
To help keep us all safe, please do NOT:
- sit on other patients’ beds or seats
- share food and drink or other items, for example newspapers
- pick up or move items for other people
- help other patients to walk or move around.
If you or another patient need something, let our staff know. We’re trained to help in a safe way.