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.
Planned care including surgery
We understand many patients have been waiting a long time for planned care such as surgery. We're prioritising patients based on clinical need.
Face-to-face outpatient appointments are available for patients who need to be seen in person. If you have been asked to attend hospital for your appointment it is safe to do so and you should come as normal.
We continue to offer telephone and video consultations for patients who do not require a face-to-face appointment. This is to limit the number of people in our hospitals whilst Covid-19 remains a threat to everyone's health.
Our cancer services are open you should continue with your treatment.
All of our maternity services are open as usual.
Visiting and attending hospital with a loved one
Visiting and attending hospital with a loved one
The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff is our top priority. To ensure this, and with the continued spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, we have made the difficult decision to no longer allow visitors to our hospitals, with certain exceptions (see below), to limit the risk of transmission of the virus.
This guidance is expected to be in place until the end of January 2022, but please keep checking this page and the webpage for the hospital you wish to visit for the latest visiting guidance.
We are aware of how difficult it is and has been for families to visit their loved ones during the pandemic, and we appreciate your patience. Our staff are working hard to keep everyone safe and so we ask that you treat them with kindness and respect when visiting our hospital.
Exceptional circumstances where visiting is allowed:
- Patients receiving end-of-life care
- People using our maternity services
- If a person needs a familiar carer / parent / guardian / supporter / personal assistant (e.g. if the person has dementia or learning difficulties)
- Parent(s)/guardian(s) for children
- Patients who need assistance with communication and / or to meet their health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs
For more information on the specific visitor guidance for each hospital, please visit: St Bartholomew's Hospital, Newham Hospital, Whipps Cross Hospital, Mile End Hospital and The Royal London Hospital and click on the orange Covid-19 drop down tab. Our teams can also offer support with facilitating virtual visits.
Your safety while visiting and attending hosptial with a loved one
We are asking anyone who plans on visiting any of our hospitals to do a lateral flow test before they come to the hospital, and to only continue with their visit if the test is negative.
You may be asked to provide proof of your negative lateral flow test when you arrive at the hospital, so please be prepared to do so. Items accepted as proof of a negative lateral flow test are:
- A picture of your negative lateral flow test, with the day’s date
- An email from gov.uk showing a negative lateral flow test has been registered
- The physical negative lateral flow test cassette itself
Please note, lateral flow tests will not be available at any of our hospitals for visitors do to on arrival.
Please do not visit any of our hospitals if you are feeling unwell, have any cold / flu / Covid-19 like symptoms or have been told to self-isolate.
When you arrive at our hospitals you will be provided with a surgical face mask to wear at all times when inside the hospital. All staff and visitors must wear this mask unless you have a medical exemption or are under 11 years old. Other face coverings are not permitted.
You will also be asked to sanitise your hands using the hand gel available when you arrive at the hospital. Please maintain social distancing inside the hospital and wash your hands more often. You will also be asked some questions about why you're visiting the hospital and whether you have any symptoms.
We are working hard to keep our patients, staff and the public safe. Please do your bit by following this guidance if you wish to visit someone at one of our hospitals.
Information for patients
If you have an appointment at one of our hospitals, please visit this page for information on what you need to do before attending.
Contacting a loved one in our hospitals
Send a message
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. We encourage the use of digital devices to help stay in contact with your loved ones.
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.