Infection Prevention and Control
We see thousands of patients every week across our hospitals. High volumes of people indoors increase the spread and risk of infection which we take very seriously.
We want you to feel confident that you’re getting the right care in a clean and safe environment. You can help to reduce the spread of infections in our hospitals by following some simple guidelines.
We have put further safety measures in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to prevent the spread of infection
Do NOT come to hospital if you have:
- COVID-19 symptoms
- tested positive for COVID-19
- been told to self isolate, or anyone you live with is self isolating
- returned from any COVID-19 restricted country in the last 14 days
- flu-like symptoms, vomiting and or diarrhoea.
If you have an appointment at one of our hospitals, please call us so we can rearrange.
Please call NHS 111 for medical advice.
How to stay safe from COVID-19 in hospital
People with COVID-19 can have very mild or no symptoms at all. This means they can spread the virus to other people without knowing.
We care for vulnerable people and our staff see lots of patients each day. It’s really important we all take responsibility for reducing the spread of COVID-19
We want to keep you, your family, other patients and our staff safe. Because we care, we might ask you to do things differently while you are here.
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.
Watch our video on how to wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the risk of infection.
You can also see our 13-step guide on how to wash your hands
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.
Please wear your face mask at all times when you come to one of our hospitals.
Even if you do not have any symptoms, you must wear your mask properly (covering your nose and mouth) at all times.
If you can not wear a face mask for any reason, please tell us. For safety reasons, the following groups do not need to wear a face covering:
- young children under the age of 2
- anyone with breathing or developmental difficulties
- an unconscious person
- anyone who experiences genuine discomfort or distress while wearing a face mask
- pregnant women who have gone into labour
- anyone unable to remove their mask without assistance
Anyone you live with includes anyone in your ‘support bubble’.
Watch our video about wearing face masks and coverings in our hospitals.
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.
Stay in place
We know it can be hard to stay in the same place for a long time, but moving around can quickly spread the virus, especially if you do not know you have it. It also increases the chance of you catching it.
Please do NOT visit other parts of the hospital unless you’re asked to by a member of staff. If you’re asked to stay in a waiting or treatment area, please stay there.
If you think you need to go somewhere for example to get food/drink or go outside for fresh air, check with your care team first.
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, please let our staff know. Our staff are trained to help in a safe way.
What to do if you’re attending an outpatient appointment
If you have an appointment at one of our hospital sites it’s important that you attend. If you can not attend for any reason, please call us on the telephone number on your appointment letter as soon as possible.
You must attend appointments alone unless you need support.
A family member or carer can accompany patients who:
- are under 16
- have a learning disability, or cognitive impairment, or autism
- have communication challenges including hearing or visual impairment
- do not speak English as their first language.
Check your appointment letter and:
- follow instructions about where to wait
- avoid waiting in confined spaces
- avoid entering the building until 5 minutes before your appointment
- wait in your car if we ask you to until we call you for your appointment.
Video or telephone appointments
If you have a telephone or video appointment, please be available at the time of your appointment. We’ll contact you within 1 hour of your appointment time.
If you need further assistance
If you need assistance getting from the car park or hospital bus stop, or need an interpreter for your appointment, please tell us by calling the outpatients bookings team. You’ll find the telephone number on your appointment letter.
Accessing our hospital entrances
We have restricted the entrances into our hospitals and you may need to enter our buildings via a different entrance from previous visits.
We screen all patients attending appointments. If there could be a risk of COVID-19 infection you may be asked to return home and we’ll reschedule your appointment.
Our staff wear appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).
Any patients with COVID-19 symptoms are being cared for in a separate part of the hospital.
If your symptoms get worse
If your symptoms get worse before your appointment, please call your GP or the appropriate hospital team for advice as soon as possible.
If you’re coming to stay in hospital for treatment
Regular testing helps us to find out if people have COVID-19 but don’t have any symptoms. This means we can take the right steps to protect you and others.
We may need you to take regular tests to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
If you test positive for COVID-19, we may move you to a different room to keep people around you safe and so that we can provide you with the right type of care.
Working together to protect each other
It’s ok to remind doctors, nurses and other patients that we need to make space for each other and to cover our mouths and noses. Reminders can help us all to look out for each other.
If you want to know more about how we’re trying to stop COVID-19 spreading and keep people safe, please ask a member of staff.
Find out more about COVID-19 including the latest government guidelines
For advice or further assistance before your appointment, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service.