Information for all kidney and transplant patients at Guy's and St Thomas' regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).
Our services are open and safe to attend, even during the lockdown. If you've been invited for an appointment, it's important that you still come in.
As a kidney patient you are at an increased risk of becoming unwell if you are infected with coronavirus. Therefore it is important that you follow NHS national advice around thorough and frequent hand washing and hygiene.
The situation is changing rapidly, please visit the NHS website and follow the NHS national advice. Everyone should be observing social distancing and there are no additional measures for patients with chronic kidney disease. However, transplant patients, those patients taking a certain level of immunosuppression medicines and dialysis patients have been designated extremely vulnerable. You should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble and stay at home where possible.
Please visit the government website for guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
A leaflet has been produced by The Renal Association to help kidney patients understand and reduce their risk of catching COVID-19.
Patients active in the national pool for a transplant from a deceased donor (often referred to as being 'active on the transplant list') will get advice from their kidney care team about how best to avoid catching COVID-19. Patients who are booked to receive a kidney transplant from a living donor, and those who have recently had a transplant from either a living donor or a deceased donor, will be given advice by the transplant team.
Further information is available on the Public Health England website.
If you are coming to Guy’s and St Thomas’ for a planned procedure or surgery, please read our frequently asked questions for information on travel and staying safe in our hospitals.
Please see below for information and advice regarding outpatient appointments.
We are taking steps to minimise the need to attend clinical appointments in person, replacing this with telephone consultations. Some patients will need blood tests and we will contact you about how to get these done. If you have a temperature, cough or difficulty breathing, please call the clinic before attending.
If you have concerns about the above advice, please talk to your dialysis or transplant team or phone us using the phone numbers on the right of this page.
You may also find it helpful to read our leaflet 'Your outpatient appointment during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic' (PDF 412Kb).
Please try to have your blood test done in the week before your virtual clinic appointment. Blood test services for Guy's and St Thomas' kidney patients will be provided at:
- Kidney clinic (PDF 263Kb), 4th floor, Tower Wing, Guy’s Hospital, 9am-4pm.
Alternatively you can phone and book a blood test appointment at one of these centres:
Dialysis patients will have their blood tests done in the dialysis units as usual.
We are now able to offer home blood test kits for tacrolimus and creatinine levels. The test involves a finger prick to collect a blood sample on two small swabs. You then post them on the same day to our lab to be tested. Your results will be available two to four days later. They will be reviewed by your clinician who will contact you if needed. You will also be able to view your results online. For more information, download the home blood tests for kidney transplant patients information leaflet (PDF 552Kb).
If you have any queries about having your blood tests done, please contact us using the phone numbers on the right of this page.
Collecting your medications
Hospital prescribed medications only
If you are coming to the kidney clinic at Guy’s Hospital for blood tests and our records suggest you need more medication, this will have already been prescribed and you will be able to collect it from the outpatient pharmacy after having your blood test. If you need a prescription, please ask reception on arrival and this will be prescribed.
If you are attending Sidcup or Tunbridge Well kidney treatment centres, please email TRUMedicinesManagement@gstt.nhs.uk at least five working days before you are attending. Please let them know what you need, which centre you are attending and when, and we will aim to have your medication ready for you to pick up. Please contact your GP for prescriptions for your other medications as usual.
You need to attend dialysis and take all your medication as normal. We advise that you do not dialyse ‘away from base’ (holiday dialysis) until further notice.
We will continue to provide transport for eligible patients. Our transport services are incredibly busy, please do consider if there is a friend or family member who can take you and/or collect you from the dialysis unit. Unfortunately they will not be able to stay with you during your treatment.
If you are unwell with coronavirus and require admission to hospital we will provide dialysis to you at the bedside.
If you have coronavirus but are well enough for community treatment we will offer dialysis in isolation.
If someone in your dialysis unit is found to have coronavirus and potentially exposed other patients, we will take advice from the Trust’s infection control department.
Home haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis
You should continue as normal. We are in contact with the dialysis companies for assurance regarding the delivery of supplies.
Transplantation and patients taking immunosuppression
If you are well you should continue taking your immunosuppression as normal. Current advice is that if you have been exposed to coronavirus but are well, you should continue your immunosuppression as normal.
If you have symptoms (a temperature, cough or difficulty breathing, loss of smell or taste) or you are concerned that you may have contracted coronavirus, please contact us and we will advise you (details on the right of this page).
There is currently no problem with the supply of immunosuppressive medicines but you should ensure you have a stock of around four weeks.
We have now reopened our living donor and deceased donor kidney transplant programmes for patients that are at lower risk of serious illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). Our pancreas transplant programme is not yet reopened, but we are working hard to restart this as soon as possible.
We will be regularly reviewing our policies on which patients we think are suitable for transplantation. These are difficult decisions, which involve balancing risks and benefits and at present we are considering all available evidence and monitoring the local and national situation with respect to infection rates.
We understand that this is a difficult and stressful time; please know that you are in our thoughts and do not hesitate to contact our helpline if you have any queries or concerns, tel 020 7188 0549, Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
Talk to us about your wishes if you were to become unwell
During your appointments in the kidney clinic, we will do our best to discuss your condition and treatment options with you. Most patients will respond well to treatment, but you may also need to think about how you might want to be treated if your condition gets worse.
Many patients have thought about the medical treatments they would not want, or a place in which they would prefer to be cared for. If you would like to talk to us about your wishes, please contact us. We are available on 020 7188 5720 or 020 7188 7548, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. We may not be able to take the call immediately but please leave your name, hospital number and contact number and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
There is also more information that may be helpful to you on the Let's talk page. This page has four short videos to support these discussions.
Tel: 020 7188 0549
Queries concerning appointments
Tel: 020 7188 5711 for transplant follow up appointments
Tel: 020 7188 8820 for Nephrology, CKD and AKCC appointments
The above phone lines are available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Evening and weekends, if you are unwell, please use the NHS 111 online service.
Existing contact details for the specialist nurses are unchanged.
Your outpatient appointment
Find out more about your outpatient appointment during the coronavirus pandemic (PDF 412Kb).
Please visit the main Trust coronavirus (COVID-19) page for more information.
Vitamin D supplements
In November 2020, the government announced that clinically extremely vulnerable people will be offered a free winter supply of vitamin D supplements.
Kidney patients should not take additional vitamin D supplements unless advised by their clinician. The extra vitamin D in some kidney patients could cause a high calcium level which could be dangerous and increases the risk of kidney stones.
Please speak to your clinician if you have further concerns.
Find out how you can look after your wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (PDF 360Kb).
Kidney Care website
Visit the Kidney Care UK website for advice and support.