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Information for visitors to our hospitals

Patients and visitors

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To reduce the spread of infection, we have made changes to our visiting numbers and visiting times. 

The following visiting guidance is for:

There is different guidance for: 

There might be some areas in our hospitals where guidance is slightly different or there are extra rules to keep people safe. 

Please check with the ward or department before visiting.

Adult inpatient wards

Visiting hours are between 2pm and 7.30pm. 

Each patient can have 1 visitor. However, visitors can swap over during visiting hours. This means that a patient can see more than 1 person per day.

Visitors must swap outside the ward (and ideally outside the hospital buildings) to avoid overcrowding in hospital areas. 

If the ward becomes overcrowded, the nurse in charge of the area may ask that some visitors leave to maintain safe social distancing. 

No children should visit adult wards unless agreed in exceptional circumstances

You should always follow directions from our staff, and ask them if you are not sure.

Read more about what to do when you visit.

Outpatient departments and the emergency department

Patients should attend outpatient appointments and the emergency department alone where possible.

This does not apply to patients who need a chaperone or a carer for support.

Space is limited in these areas. It's important to maintain physical distancing where possible to keep our patients and staff safe.

A friend, carer or family member can collect you from the entrance of the hospital when you are leaving. If you need help to get to the entrance to meet them, one of our porters or nursing staff will help you.

Read more about what to expect if you have an outpatient appointment.

COVID-19 positive units in critical care

Visiting in our critical care units is generally the same as adult inpatient wards

However, there are different rules for units looking after patients who are COVID-19 positive. These are known as 'red units'.

In our red units, visiting will be limited to 1 visitor for each patient unless staff agree otherwise.

You must authorise your visit before attending the unit. You can do this by calling the unit and speaking with the nurse in charge, matron or consultant. You'll also agree a time for the visit.

If a visit has been authorised, you can come at the time agreed. Please do not come unless you have been authorised to do so, as you may be refused entry which can cause distress to you and our staff.

We might limit the length or your visit and how often you visit, based on the needs of the unit and other patients.

We'll try to be flexible when:

  • a patient has specific care needs, including dementia, learning disabilities or mental health needs
  • a patient is in distress, or is getting worse due to isolation from visitors
  • staff feel a visit is needed to support complex or distressing conversations about ongoing care
  • a patient is receiving end of life care. They will be supported to have more than 1 visitor, if this can happen safely. This will include wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

Exceptional circumstances

We'll support additional visiting in exceptional circumstances.

This might be when a patient is at the end of their life, receiving difficult news and needs more support from loved ones. This also includes patients needing support from a carer outside of visiting hours. 

Please ask a nurse on the ward for more information.

Contacting your relative or friend

We understand that you may want to find out how your friend or relative is. There are many ways you can keep in contact, such as calling the ward, calling your friend or relative directly or writing a letter.

  • Ways you can keep in touch

    Virtual visiting

    We recognise the importance of relatives and patients being able to communicate, especially during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Find out more about virtual visiting.

    Calling the ward

    You can call the hospital switchboard and ask for the ward they are staying on. If possible, your friend or relative should nominate one person to call the hospital and act as a link for everyone else. This helps our nursing staff care for patients. Also, to protect patient confidentiality, we can only give limited information over the phone.

    Calling your friend or relative directly

    In most cases, you can also call your friend or relative using their bedside phone. However, you'll be charged at a premium rate for these calls.

    You may be able to call your friend or relative on their mobile phone. Mobile phones are not allowed in certain areas of the hospital, so please check with the ward staff or your friend or relative.

    Writing a letter

    You can write to your friend or relative in hospital. Please make sure you address the letter or card with their full name, the name of the ward and the correct hospital address.

    Sending or bringing flowers

    If you wish to bring or send flowers, please check with ward staff for any restrictions first. Flowers are not allowed in some areas of the hospital for risk of infection.

Accommodation for relatives and friends 

We have visitor accommodation at both hospitals. See our accommodation page for details.

Finding your way around

Restaurants, shops and more

All our hospitals have a range of cafes, shops, restaurants and even a cinema.

Facilities at Guy's

Facilities at St Thomas'

What to do when you visit

What we expect you to do to help us keep our patients, other visitors and staff safe.

Read our visiting rules.

Spiritual care

Our spiritual care and chaplaincy service offers spiritual, religious and cultural care at any time you need it.