Patients and visitors
We know visiting hospital can sometimes be daunting, so we want to reassure you that as a patient of ours, we'll ask what you think, and give you all the information you need to help you play an active part in any decision making. You'll be treated in an environment where your comfort and privacy and dignity are respected.
We achieve some of the best clinical outcomes anywhere in the NHS, and we trust that you'll receive great care from our team of dedicated staff. If you’d like to give feedback or think there is something we can improve, please let us know.
We are reviewing our pandemic visiting guidance
We are currently reviewing our visitor policy in line with the new national visiting guidance issued in March 2021. We are aware of how difficult it has been for families to visit their loved ones during the pandemic and this new guidance advises on how we can ease some of the current restrictions in a safe way.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff continues to be our top priority and therefore changes to our visitor policy will be gradual and only be made where we can maintain all necessary infection prevention and control measures. More information on the updated visitor guidance for each of our hospitals will be shared shortly.
In the meantime, please continue to follow our current guidance outlined below.
To ensure the safety of our patients and staff, we are restricting visitors into our hospitals. Visitors will only be allowed into clinical areas if the patient is:
- at the end of their life
- a child
- lacks capacity
- is giving birth
Only one visitor at a time will be allowed in these cases.
We have weekly meetings for all sites to discuss how the visiting policy is impacting safety and patient’s experiences at hour hospitals. As part of increasing activity at the hospital, our teams are having continuous discussions on our visiting policy.
Visitor guidance and how we're keeping you safe
Visiting a relative or friend
We are continually reviewing our visitor policy in line with national guidance (last issued in April 2021).
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff continues to be our top priority and therefore changes to our visitor policy will be gradual and only be made where we can maintain all necessary infection prevention and control measures.
To ensure the safety of our patients and staff, we are currently restricting visitors into our hospitals. You should therefore attend your appointment alone, unless you need support for mobility or accessibility reasons.
Visitors will only be allowed into clinical areas if the patient is:
- at the end of their life
- a child
- lacks capacity
- having a baby
- an inpatient*
Only one visitor at a time will be allowed in these cases. Please note that some wards may have further restrictions to protect the safety of patients and staff.
*We are currently allowing inpatient visiting on some of our wards. For more information on the specific guidace for each hopsital please visit St Bartholomew's Hospital, Newham Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital and The Royal London Hospital. Our teams can also offer support with facilitating virtual visits.
Our hospitals are adapting so we can continue to care for patients safely while the coronavirus remains a threat to everyone’s health.
All staff and visitors must wear a surgical face mask (e.g. disposable, single-use masks which are composed of 3 layers), use the hand gel available, and wash their hands more often and maintain social distancing. When you arrive at our hospitals you will be provided with a mask to wear at all times. Face coverings are not acceptable.
When you arrive, you will be asked some questions about why you're visiting the hospital and whether you have any symptoms.
We are caring for Covid-19 patients in separate areas of our hospitals, so the right infection control measures are in place for them and to protect you.
Contacting a loved one in our hospitals
Send a message to a loved one
We know that having a loved on admitted to hospital is distressing under normal circumstances, but it can be even more so when visiting is restricted.
You can send messages and photos to your loved ones using our online form. All responses will be printed off and shared each day.
Visitors are an important part of supporting our patients' wellbeing and rehabilitation. However, with the current restrictions in place, we've had to explore alternatives. We encourage the use of digital devices to help stay in contact with your loved ones and encourage our patients to have one available for the duration of their stay.
As not all patients will have access to technology, we have a number of iPads which allow patients to communicate with their loved ones, using the StarLeaf app.
Virtual visiting: frequently asked questions
How does it work?
A patient or visitor can request a virtual visit by speaking to ward staff at Newham Hospital, The Royal London Hospital, St Bartholomew's Hospital and Whipps Cross Hospital. The ward teams will ask for the virtual visitor’s email and a time to set up the visit. The visitor will receive a video call from the iPad which will be with the patient. Alternatively, relatives/ loved ones can send recordings to the device that can be played to patients.
Can relatives virtually visit at any time?
Yes, as long as there is a staff member and a device available, a close relative can visit virtually at the most appropriate time.
How long does the virtual visit last for?
If the patient is unconscious, we would generally allow ten minutes for this. If the patient is conscious, we allow 20 minutes. Staff will use discretion around these timings.
What happens if the virtual call gets cut off prematurely?
We will try and reconnect but may ring you directly.