Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Frequently asked questions

Patients and visitors

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Please watch our video and read the frequently asked questions about attending our hospitals or community sites during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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

  • Do I need to wear a mask when travelling to hospital?

    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 when you enter the hospital for your appointment.

  • I need to travel on public transport to get to the hospital – what can I do to prevent infection?

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

    Please follow the Government safer travel guidance for passengers.

    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.

  • Why do I have to wear a mask on public transport?

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

    Please follow the Government safer travel guidance for passengers.

    This is to protect yourself and other passengers from coronavirus (COVID-19), along with other measures such as social distancing and the use of hand washing and hand gels.

  • What type of mask should I use?

    Any face covering/mask will be suitable to provide protection whilst out in public.

  • Will patient transport be provided?

    Yes. Patient transport will remain 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?

    Car parks at both Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals are free to use. Visit our parking page for more information.

  • Will I be able to buy refreshments on site?

    Facilities will be open and there are free water fountains throughout the hospital.

  • 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 inform 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 ensure you're safe. 

    Social distancing is being enforced in and around the hospital sites. Hand sanitiser will be available at entrances and exits to the hospital and departments.

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

    You will be able to wear a face covering/mask.

  • 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 staff and 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.

  • 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.

  • I have an underlining health condition which would put me at high risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) – should I keep my 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. If you are concerned about this, please get in touch.

  • I am worried that my health condition makes me at high risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) – should I attend my hospital appointment?

    Whilst your health condition can make you more vulnerable, it is important to manage your condition to stop it becoming worse and making you more vulnerable.

    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. If you are concerned about this, please get in touch.

  • I have been identified as needing to shield. Should I attend?

    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 whilst travelling and on arrival to the department you should inform a member of staff you are shielding.

    If you are concerned about this then 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.

  • I want to speak to someone about my condition before my appointment – who can I contact?

    Your hospital appointment letter will have a number for enquiries; you can call this number.

    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.

  • Who can I speak to regarding my hospital appointment?

    Your hospital appointment letter will have a number for enquiries, you can call this number.

    If you have a question about your health and you have a contact number for a help line 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 appointments alone, at the moment, to reduce the number of people in the hospital to enable 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 assist you. They will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, visors, aprons and gloves to protect you and others.

  • 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

  • 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 have to be re-scheduled.

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

  • What if my flatmate is 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?

    Try to 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 as 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?

    If you need to travel to come to essential hospital appointments at this time 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.

  • When do I need to arrive at hospital?

    You will be given all details regarding your surgery, including time of arrival by the department that you are under.

  • Where do I go when I arrive?

    You will be given all details regarding your surgery, including where to go when you arrive by the department that you are under.

  • 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.