Information for all kidney and transplant patients at Guy’s and St Thomas’ regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).
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 and should follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe. You are strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and avoid any face-to-face contact until, at least, the end of June. From 1 June government advice is that you can go outside once a day, if you wish, with members of your household or, if you’re living alone, with one other person from a different household. If you do go out, you should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart. Dialysis patients should attend for dialysis as usual or as directed by their dialysis team.
If needed, you can self-register for help on the NHS website.
Further information is available on the Public Health England website. For non-transplant patients, guidance about what immunosuppression medicines would put you into the shielding group can be found on the Kidney Care UK website.
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:
And at other locations in south London; further information will be sent to you with your appointment letter.
Dialysis patients will have their blood tests done in the dialysis units as usual.
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) 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.
If you are waiting for a transplant, we can assure you that we are already having discussions both locally and nationally as a transplant community regarding the circumstances and safeguards under which we would consider re-starting transplantation. You may be aware that some units in the UK have re-started transplantation. These involve parts of the country where the rates of COVID-19 infection are low, and so far none of the London units have re-started 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 will keep you informed about when we plan to re-start transplantation. Please be assured that before making any decision to proceed with a transplant, we would have a detailed discussion with you about the risks involved.
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.
Would you like the opportunity to talk to us about your wishes if you were to become unwell?
Most people who are affected by the coronavirus recover but sadly some people become very unwell and do not. Whilst this can be difficult to think about, we would like to provide you with the opportunity to let us know whether you have any particular wishes or preferences about your care should you become unwell. This may, for example, relate to specific treatments you would like to have or where you wish to be looked after if you are less well. You may find it helpful to discuss your choices with your family, close friends and a member of your clinical team.
Please visit our Let's talk page which has four short videos to support patient and carer conversations.
If it would help to talk to us, you are very welcome to call. We are available on 020 7188 7746, 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.