Preparing for your stay

Staying in hospital as an inpatient

Your admission date

We'll send you an admission letter with:

  • the date you need to come into hospital
  • details about where to go

We aim to respect your privacy, dignity and religious and cultural beliefs at all times. 

Telephone the number on your letter if you have any special needs, such as washing or praying facilities.

If you need an interpreter or signer and this was not booked when your admission date was arranged, phone 020 7188 8815 or see our language support page.

Different locations for surgery

We're using different hospitals in the area alongside St Thomas' Hospital and Guy's Hospital for surgeries. Your surgery could also take place at:

You may also see a different clinician or surgeon for your treatment. We may need to change your appointment or surgery date but we will always give you as much notice as possible.


Within 3 days of your admission date, please contact us immediately if you have:

  • a cold or cough
  • diarrhoea (runny poo)
  • been sick (vomited)
  • been in contact with someone with an infection, such as coronavirus (COVID-19) or chickenpox

Please use the telephone number on your admission letter to contact us.

Confirming a bed is available

Please do not come in until our admissions office has confirmed a bed is available.

This applies even if we've organised your transport and they arrive to collect you.

We'll do everything we can to make sure there's no change to your admission date. 

If you cannot attend

If you're unable to attend for any reason, please tell us as soon as possible.

You can cancel your planned admission:

If you do not contact us, this will affect your position on our waiting list.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) test

We might ask you to have a COVID-19 test before your admission, or when you arrive.

We'll contact you and explain which type of test you need.

This may be a self-swab test which you will be sent in the post. We'll arrange delivery of the test back to the hospital.

If your test result is positive, your surgery or procedure is likely to be rescheduled. We will contact you to let you know if this is the case.

Self isolating before surgery

Before coming to hospital for your operation, you might need to self-isolate. We'll contact you to tell you if you need to do this, and how long for.

Packing your bag

Checklist of things to bring:

  • all medicines you take, even those you're not expecting to need to take during your hospital stay
  • your admission letter, and any other information we may have sent you
  • money in case you wish to buy a newspaper or use the bedside TV and phone
  • the name, address and postcode of your GP
  • proof of entitlement to free travel costs, if appropriate
  • nightclothes, a dressing gown and slippers
  • day clothes, a tracksuit or other comfortable clothes
  • glasses or contact lenses (if you have both, please bring glasses as well as contact lenses)
  • hearing aid
  • mobility aids you use, such as a walking stick or walking frame
  • a brush or comb
  • shaving equipment
  • a toothbrush and toothpaste
  • soap and shampoo
  • sanitary products, such as tampons
  • a towel and flannel
  • other toiletries
  • items of religious importance to you
  • books and magazines
  • notepad and pen

Please do not bring:

  • jewellery or other valuables
  • large bags or suitcases as storage space is limited
  • alcohol

Phones and tablet computers

You can bring your phone or tablet computer. We provide access to free WiFi.

This is at your own risk. We cannot accept liability for lost or stolen property.

We also ask you to use your phone or tablet computer on the ward discreetly. This so that you do not disturb other people.

Your valuables

Don’t bring valuables, such as jewellery or large sums of money to hospital.

Hospitals are public buildings and we cannot accept liability for lost or stolen property or money.

If you must bring valuables with you, then they should be handed to a nurse when you arrive. This is so we can arrange for safekeeping in our cashiers' office. You'll need to sign a receipt for your valuables.

Your valuables will be returned to you when you're ready to leave hospital.

If you've deposited £100 or more, our cashiers' office needs 24 hours' notice to return the money to you. 

If you leave the hospital when the cashiers' office is closed, you may not be able to collect your valuables on the same day.

Relatives and friends

Remember to let your relatives and friends know that you are going to hospital. Give them our hospital telephone switchboard number, 020 7188 7188.

Don't forget to tell them which of our hospitals you're coming to and which of our wards you'll be staying in.

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