Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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.

We are here to keep you safe – watch video

  • Keeping you safe – video transcript

    At Guy's and St Thomas' we've made some important changes to help keep you safe when you visit our hospitals or community sites.

    We're asking everyone to clean their hands immediately when they enter the building.

    Hand sanitiser is available around the building for you to clean your hands more frequently.

    When you arrive we may give you a mask to wear.

    We have reminders around our buildings to 'keep apart' and we have signs to show you where to wait and queue safely.

    We have rearranged our seating so that you can maintain social distancing and we are limiting the numbers of people who can go in the lift at one time.

    Some of these changes may mean that you need to queue at busy times so please leave extra time to get to your appointment.

    When you arrive at your appointment you will be asked if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

    Everyone will wear a face mask when you attend for your appointment and some staff may be wearing additional protective equipment.

    We're keeping things clean, cleaning more often and cleaning frequently touched surfaces with extra care.

    If you are visiting our children's services please help us reduce the number of visitors by only attending with one parent or carer.

    Things may seem different but one thing will always be the same, we are here to give you the best and safest care.

    Visit our website to find out more about what we are doing to keep you safe.


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.

  • Am I allowed to travel?

    Yes. You are allowed to travel for hospital, GP and other medical appointments, or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health. For more information, please visit the GOV.UK website.

  • I'm using public transport – do I need to wear a face mask and how do I prevent infection?

    You must wear a face covering on all public transport, including taxis.

    Please follow the Government safer travel guidance for passengers.

    If you are travelling alone in your own vehicle you will not need a mask.

    However, you will be required to put on a face covering or mask, unless exempt, when you enter the hospital for your appointment.

    The risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus and the amount of time you spend in close contact: you are very unlikely to be infected from just walking past another person.

    There may be situations where you can't keep a suitable distance from people, for example when boarding or alighting, on busier services, at busier times of day and when walking through interchanges. In these cases you should avoid physical contact, try to face away from other people, and keep the time you spend near others as short as possible.

    Be aware of the surfaces you touch. Be careful not to touch your face. Wash your hands, after using public transport or use hand gel.

  • Will patient transport be provided?

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

  • I will be travelling by car – where can I get information regarding car parks and parking costs?

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

  • Will I be able to buy refreshments on site?

    Shops and restaurants are open and there are free water fountains throughout our hospitals.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • My journey may take longer than usual – will I still be seen for my appointment?

    Please allow extra time for your journey to make sure you arrive in time for your appointment.

    Appointments should run to scheduled times and you may not be seen if you arrive later.

  • 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.

  • My clinic has moved – will there be anyone to help me find my way?

    Yes. There are staff at each entrance/exit to support and advise patients.

  • 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.

  • Who can I speak to about my appointment or health condition?

    If you need to change your appointment or check we have the right contact details, you can:

    If you have a question about your health and you have a contact number for a helpline or a clinical nurse specialist (CNS), please contact them.

  • I should have been given a date for a hospital appointment from you but I have not received anything – what do I do?

    If you know, or think you have, a hospital appointment and have not heard from us, please contact us.

  • 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.

  • Are language interpreting and British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters still available to support me at my appointment?

    Yes. This support will be available to you but the interpreter will take part via video conferencing due to social distancing rules.

    There is more information on our language support page.

  • I have a physical disability which affects my mobility – what help is available to support me attending my appointment?

    Staff will be available to help you. Please speak to a member of your clinical team.

  • My GP has referred me to the hospital – will I still be seen?

    Yes. If you need to be seen, arrangements will be made to allow this.

  • I have a future appointment – will I still be seen/do I still attend?

    We will contact you if it is necessary for you to attend the appointment or whether the appointment can be conducted by telephone or video. We will also notify you if the appointment is cancelled.

Coming for a planned procedure or surgery

  • What are we doing to protect surgical patients?

    We are taking every measure to protect surgical patients by, for example:

    • testing all surgical patients for coronavirus (COVID-19) ahead of their operation
    • following the latest guidance on testing of NHS staff
    • making sure that staff are well trained in how to limit the spread of infection in hospitals
    • making sure that staff have and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • making sure that the right levels of staffing and equipment are in place so that surgery can take place safely.
  • Can I catch coronavirus (COVD-19) from anaesthetic equipment?

    There is a very low risk of catching any virus specifically from anaesthetic equipment.

    • The majority of equipment is single-use (used only for one patient) and disposable
    • All non-disposable equipment (i.e. monitoring, theatre, trolley) used during your procedure is cleaned in line with infection control policy
    • The air in theatres is filtered and undergoes at least 18 air changes per hour
  • 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 48 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).

  • What if other members of my household are going out to work/socialise?

    Please discuss your personal situation with your clinical team when you are booked for your surgery.

    If you live with others there are some practical steps you can take:

    • staying apart as much as possible – sleeping in separate rooms and using different bathrooms if you can, however we understand that many patients are not able to do this
    • minimising the amount of time you spend in shared spaces such as the kitchen
    • trying to stay at least two metres (three steps) apart
    • regularly cleaning, with disinfectant, any surfaces you use a lot, such as kitchen counters
    • washing your hands regularly, for 20 seconds each time
    • making sure to sneeze or cough into tissues, your elbow, or your sleeve, and throwing away the tissues straight after using them
    • avoiding using the same towels or crockery and making sure everything has been washed thoroughly before it’s used by someone else.
  • 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 medicines, food etc, please contact your local council. They have contact details for a number of 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.

  • Will I be tested for COVID-19?

    All patients being admitted to any of our hospitals are tested for COVID-19. Depending on the type of admission, carers may also need to be tested if coming into the hospital to stay with the patient.

  • 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. If your test is negative, you will 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. If your procedure or surgery cannot be rescheduled for medical reasons, additional precautions will be taken by your clinical team for the safety of yourself, staff and other patients. In the event of your surgery having to be rescheduled, you will need to have at least one further negative test for COVID-19.

  • How do I get to hospital?

    You should travel by a private household car on your own or with someone from your household. You should keep the car well ventilated and sit as far apart as possible.

    If this is not possible, we will arrange transport for you. You must not use public transport or taxis (including Uber and similar services).

    For more information, please read our patient transport services leaflet (PDF 345Kb).

  • Why can’t I come by train or taxi?

    We ask that you do not travel by public transport or taxi in order to reduce your contact with other people. This will reduce your risk of catching COVID-19.

  • Do I need to bring a mask?

    If you do not have a face covering or mask you will be provided with a single use surgical mask when you arrive. Please see our staying safe in our hospitals and community sites page to find out how we are keeping our patients and staff safe.

  • Where do I go when I get to hospital?

    Please refer to your appointment letter. This tells you what time you should arrive and where you need to go.

  • 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.