Important information for patients and visitors
Our hospitals are adapting so our staff can continue to treat and care for our patients safely while the coronavirus remains a threat to everyone’s health. We are currently restricting visitors to 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. Some wards may have further restrictions to protect the safety of patients and staff. Case-by-case exceptions need to be discussed with the nurse in charge.
Do not enter our hospitals if:
- you have a cough, cold, any ‘flu-like symptoms or infectious illnesses like diarrhoea or vomiting
- you have a continuous cough or high temperature - go home, self-isolate for 7 days, and seek advice from NHS 111 online
- a loss of sense of smell or taste.
If you need to visit us, our hospitals will look and feel different. The videos below explain some of the changes we have made.
All staff and visitors must wear face coverings or masks, use the hand gel and wash their hands more often, and maintain social distancing rules. When you arrive, you will be asked some questions about your appointment and whether you have any symptoms.
We are caring for Covid-19 patients in separate, dedicated areas in our hospitals (known as zones), so the right infection control measures are in place for them.
All visitors to our hospitals must wear face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.
This should be worn upon arrival and in waiting areas, including corridors, cafes and restaurants. For visitors without a face covering, disposal surgical face masks will be provided.
Attending your outpatient appointment
You should not come into our hospitals for an appointment unless you told to do so.
We are providing telephone and video consultations to most patients and our teams will contact you to confirm these arrangements.
Your planned surgery
Planned surgery has now restarted across all specialities. Our clinicians are prioritising the most urgent operations. If they suggest you should have your surgery now it’s because they think that going ahead is the best option for you.
We've introduced a number of measures to keep you safe. You, and the people you live with, may be asked to self-isolate before your procedure, so that you don't catch or pass on the virus.
You will most likely be tested before you arrive at hospital and again before your procedure. If you have symptoms before your surgery, you should request a test and let us know. Similarly, if you’ve had contact with someone who has Covid-19, tell us straight away.
If you test positive before your surgery, your clinical team will decide with you if the benefit of having your surgery now outweighs the risks of not going ahead.
Some patients are having operations in private hospitals, paid for by the NHS and using our doctors and anaesthetists. This is to help us ensure we see more patients sooner.
Find out more and get answers to the most frequently asked questions below.
Attending your maternity appointment
All of our maternity services are open as usual. However, there are some restrictions on visiting. This means that visitors will only be allowed into clinical areas if the patient is giving birth.
Your outpatient appointment
If you need to cancel or change an outpatient appointment, please get in touch as soon as possible:
- For The Royal London Hospital, Mile End Hospital or St Bartholomew's Hospital (non-cardiac patients) use our live webchat function at bottom of this page or call: 020 7767 3200
- For cardiac patients, contact Barts Heart Centre on: 020 3765 8000
- For Newham Hospital call: 020 7476 4000
- For Whipps Cross Hospital call: 020 8535 6768.
Our call centre experiences a high volume calls across the week.
Please be aware that you may have to wait longer for your call to be answered between 9am and 2pm, Monday to Friday.
Preparing for your appointment
Before your outpatient appointment there are a few items we suggest you bring with you:
- Your appointment letter or appointment card
- Information about you; including your address, your GP’s address and for children, their school address.
- Medicines and allergy treatments; the names of the medication, what you’re taking it for and how often you take it.
Find out what to do if you have special requirements.
When you arrive at the hospital
When you arrive at the hospital
Your appointment letter or appointment card should tell you where to go when you arrive.
If not, please call the number on your appointment letter or appointment card to find out where you should go. If you misplace your appointment letter or card, please contact central appointments.
Please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment. Every missed appointments costs the NHS £160.
When you arrive at the clinic/department
On arrival, please speak to the clinic receptionist, who will explain what you need to do next.
At your appointment
When you see the doctor
At your appointment, you may be seen by the consultant in charge of your care, or by another doctor who works on the consultant’s team. If the consultant or doctor decides that you need to be seen again, you will be asked to book a further appointment with the clinic receptionist before you leave.
Is it okay to ask lots of questions?
Yes. We want you to become involved in your healthcare and play an active part in decision making. We will always make time to listen, so please speak up if you have any queries or concerns.
How to identify our staff
All staff in our hospitals wear identity badges, which should be visible at all times. Ask any member of staff to show you their badge, and they’ll be happy to do so. Staff such as nurses, healthcare support workers and domestics all wear uniforms. Doctors and consultants don’t have uniforms, but may wear a white coat.
Will I come into contact with students?
It’s possible that you will come into contact with students, as all our hospitals are involved in teaching students. They may help with giving you direct care or examinations (under supervision) and you might be asked to discuss your condition with students. You have the right to refuse to be seen or treated by students – refusal will not affect the rest of your care.
Will I be asked to take part in research?
Our staff are involved in a variety of research projects and at some stage in your treatment you may be asked to be involved with one of these projects. Any research you are asked to take part in will be relevant to your care. You have the right to refuse to be involved in any research – refusal will not affect the rest of your care.
Do you need my consent before treatment or surgery?
Yes, we do. We won’t go ahead with treatment or surgery without your permission. And you have the right to refuse any treatment or examinations. If you are not able to give your consent, staff will act in your best interests.
I am an overseas visitor – will I have to pay for my treatment?
Yes, the NHS charges overseas patients, unless they are exempt. Clinic staff or the Paying Patients Office (tel 020 346 55028) can advise you about this.
After your appointment
Where do I get my prescription?
If the doctor prescribes new or different medication, he/she will either write and inform your GP or give you a prescription to take to the hospital pharmacy, which you can find:
Newham University Hospital
Zone 4 on the ground floor corridor
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, Saturday 9.30am-12noon
The Royal London Hospital
The Lloyds Pharmacy is near the main entrance
Opening hours: – 9am to 5.30pm - check with Lloyds
St Bartholomew’s Hospital
Ground floor KGV – again, it is a Lloyds Pharmacy
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5.30pm – check with Lloyds
Whipps Cross University Hospital
Outpatient Dispensary/Shop on the ground floor, next to the United News Shop in the Outpatients building in the Yellow Zone
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
The standard prescription fee will be charged unless you are exempt from charges. If you are exempt, please provide proof – for example, an exemption certificate. Hospital pharmacy prescriptions are not valid for dispensing by your local community pharmacist and you should therefore collect your prescription items before you leave the hospital.
Patients or their representatives may be required to provide proof of identity for the collection of certain pharmacy items supplied against a prescription at the hospital pharmacy.
If you need to come back for follow-up care, an appointment will usually be made before you leave the clinic. If not, we’ll send you a letter to invite you back.