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Our services are open and safe to attend – we are here to help

Frequently asked questions – keeping you safe

Patients and visitors

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Please watch our video and read the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about attending our hospitals or community sites during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and find out how we are keeping our patients safe.

Making our patients feel safe – watch video

  • Making our patients feel safe – video transcript

    Over the past year we've all been working really hard to keep our patients and each other safe.

    Some of our patients are extremely vulnerable and often anxious about coming in for their appointments.

    As we start to get busier it's really important that we put our patients first.

    That means wearing your mask properly, cleaning your hands, keeping apart wherever possible and respecting our colleagues who ask you to do this when you enter our buildings.

    We must do everything we possibly can to make our patients feel safe whilst they are here.

    Let's hear why staying safe and keeping apart matters to them.

    I am a patient at the cancer centre here at Guy's Hospital.

    I'm a patient of the dermatology centre.

    I bring my daughter Tilda here for treatment.

    I'm immunosuppressed and I come to the Evelina for my Infliximab treatments.

    Supervising my husband who has a lung disease.

    Because of my medical condition I know I have to make sure I keep safe and I expect people around me to do the same.

    I'm more susceptible to infection and diseases and things like that.

    It is very important to know that he feels secure and protected because he is a very extremely vulnerable person.

    In the first lockdown there weren't very many people but now more people have started to come and even though there are more people I still feel safe due to all the things that the staff have been implementing.

    I noticed people asking people and staff and patients to clean their hands and wear the masks properly.

    It does make me feel better when I see staff wearing masks and using the hand gel and so forth.

    It would be fantastic if they felt that they could challenge maybe those who don't because in and around hospital you do see people who maybe aren't wearing their masks or are wearing them halfway down their face and you know that does, now that it's getting busier, it definitely increases the anxiety.

    If they weren't wearing the protection or the PPE I would have felt vulnerable, I would not have probably continued my treatment.

    I would feel very anxious very upset. Because of my condition I know I have to keep safe.

    Frustrating, because we know what the situation is especially in a place like a hospital.

    I definitely think it's important that people still, you know, keep to the sort of restrictions and things like that because it really does help.

    Please don't cut corners, please obey the rules that'll make me feel safe.

    Be more careful and stick to the rules, and when they are followed it definitely makes us feel like people care.

    Please show you care by cleaning your hands wearing a face mask and keeping apart.

    This is all helping to keep ourselves, our patients, our colleagues and our families safe, so please do all you can.


General FAQs

  • I have an appointment booked – should I still attend?

    Yes. If you've been invited to Guy's and St Thomas' for an appointment or procedure, it's important that you still come in. Our services are open and safe to attend.

  • What do I do if I’m worried about travelling to my appointment during the pandemic?

    It is important that you still come for your appointment or procedure. Our services are open and safe to attend.

    Please follow the government safer travel guidance for passengers.

    Parking at Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals and our community services is very limited. Visit our parking page for more information.

    Patient transport continues to be available to those that are eligible and can be booked with the hospital transport team.

  • My skin is sensitive to alcohol-based hand gel – is there an alternative?

    Hand washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds has been shown to be just as effective.

    Please tell our staff at the hospital entrances and make sure you wash hands as soon as you arrive at your appointment destination.

Your outpatient appointment

Visit our appointments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic page for information about how we're managing appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic and what we're doing to keep you safe when you arrive at the hospital.

  • Is it safe for me to attend a hospital appointment?

    Every precaution will be taken to make sure you're safe. 

    Extra measures to support social distancing are in place. Hand sanitiser will be available at entrances and exits to our hospital and departments.

    Staff during your appointment will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, visors, gloves and aprons.

    You will be required to wear a face covering/mask, unless exempt.

  • What should I do if I feel unwell on the day of my appointment?

    If you or someone in your household, including your extended bubble, have experienced any of the following symptoms in the last 14 days you must contact the department before visiting the hospital:

    • a high temperature
    • a new, continuous cough
    • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

    In most cases we are asking you to follow government advice and not attend hospital if you have any of these symptoms and your appointment will be rescheduled.

    However, for some people attending the hospital may still be required. If this applies to you then arrangements for you to safely attend will be made and agreed with you.

  • Do I need to bring my appointment letter?

    You need to bring evidence of your appointment with you. We are only allowing patients with appointments to attend our hospitals. If you do not have a letter you can show your text reminder as evidence.

    Please remember to follow any instructions prior to your appointment and to bring any relevant medications.

  • I have a health condition that puts me at high risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) – should I attend my hospital appointment?

    Yes, if we have arranged an appointment at the hospital this means that the team looking after you would like to see you face-to-face.

    You must avoid public transport, if this is difficult, please speak to your clinical team, who may be able to arrange hospital transport.

    You should wear a face covering while travelling and on arrival to the department you should inform a member of staff about your health condition.

    If you are concerned about this, please contact us.

  • I'm worried about attending the hospital. Can my appointment be done by telephone or video?

    Many of our appointments are now being offered virtually (phone or video) however there are still occasions where the team will need to see you face-to-face, such as to examine you, carry out a minor procedure or obtain images, such as x-rays.

  • Can I bring someone with me to my hospital appointment?

    We are asking people to attend most appointments alone, at the moment, to reduce the number of people in the hospital and help us to stay safe and keep apart.

    If you need someone to accompany you, please speak to a member of the team.

    There is more information on our visitors page.

Coming for a planned procedure or surgery

Visit our coming for your surgery or outpatient appointment page for information about the measures we are taking to protect our surgical patients.

These include ensuring everyone is tested for COVID-19 ahead of their operation, when they are admitted to hospital and regularly while they are at hospital. We are asking patients and visitors to follow national guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and wearing a face mask. We follow the latest guidance on testing NHS staff for COVID-19 and ensure staff are trained in how to limit the spread of infection in hospitals and use the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Why do I need to self isolate before my operation?

    In order to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19, it is important you minimise contact with others. This makes it far more likely that your surgery will go ahead. You will have a swab test for COVID-19 just before your surgery (approximately 72 hours). If this test is positive, your surgery may be re-scheduled.

    Please read our self-isolation guidance for surgery patient information leaflet (PDF 282Kb).

  • How do I get essential items such as food when I am self-isolating?

    Make sure that you have a supply of your regular medicines before you start your self-isolation period. If you need help getting things like medicines or food, please contact your local council. They have contact details for volunteer organisations which have been set up to help people who are self-isolating or visit the NHS volunteer responders programme website for more information.

  • What will happen if I break my isolation?

    If you break your self-isolation it is likely that your planned surgery or procedure will be cancelled or rescheduled. Your surgery or procedure will only take place if your COVID-19 test is negative unless it is extremely urgent.

  • Why is testing necessary if I have no symptoms?

    COVID-19 testing protects patients and hospital staff. Patients who have the virus, even if they do not have symptoms, may spread it to others. They are also at higher risk for severe complications after medical procedures.

  • When will I receive my test kit?

    Testing varies from patient to patient, depending on your needs, location and urgency. You will be told exactly which type of test you will have at the time of booking your surgery or procedure. Currently most tests are performed using a self-swab home testing kit. Please watch the 'How to take a coronavirus self-test swab' video on YouTube.

    Sometimes a nurse delivers the test and some (rapid tests) are performed on the day of surgery.

  • Can I have a ‘rapid test’?

    It is not possible to provide rapid tests for all patients on the day of surgery. Additionally, it is helpful to know before the day of surgery what the results of the test are.

  • When will I get my results?

    If your test is positive you will be told the day after your test. You will be sent a text message with information about what you need to do next.

    If your test is negative, you will be sent a text message the day after your test. You can come in for your surgery or procedure as planned.

  • What if I test positive for COVID-19?

    If your test results are positive, your surgery or procedure will be rescheduled.

    Evidence supports delaying non-emergency planned procedures by at least 7 weeks to reduce any risk to you from having an anaesthetic and intervention after your COVID-19 infection.

    If your procedure or surgery cannot be rescheduled for medical reasons, extra precautions will be taken by your clinical team for your safety and the safety of staff and other patients. If your surgery is rescheduled, you will need another swab test for COVID-19 approximately 72 hours before your rescheduled date.

  • Are relatives allowed with me for my operation?

    To reduce the spread of infection, we are not currently allowing visitors to adult patients in our hospitals or community sites. There may be some exceptions to this which we will discuss with you on an individual basis. Please see our visiting patients page for more information.