We are taking every precaution to ensure our patients are safe in our hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic when they come in for planned care and elective procedures.

Planned care and elective procedures

In order to respond to the demand for care for Covid-19 and other urgent and emergency conditions, we had to postpone all but time-critical planned care since the new year. As we emerge from the second wave of Covid-19, we are beginning to re-start all of our planned services, prioritising patients with the greatest clinical need. 

If you are a patient and your procedure was postponed or you are waiting for an appointment or a date for treatment, we will contact you directly as soon as we are able.

If you are worried about your health, or if your condition deteriorates, you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 for urgent care.In order to respond to the demand for care for Covid-19 and other urgent and emergency conditions, we had to postpone all but time-critical planned care since the new year. As we emerge from the second wave of Covid-19, we are beginning to re-start all of our planned services, prioritising patients with the greatest clinical need. 

If you are a patient and your procedure was postponed or you are waiting for an appointment or a date for treatment, we will contact you directly as soon as we are able.

If you are worried about your health, or if your condition deteriorates, you should contact your GP or call NHS 111 for urgent care.

If you are asked to come into hospital, there are several steps to follow before you can come to hospital for your procedure or surgery. This page will take you through each step in detail and provide advice on how to travel to and from hospital safely when required.

Coming to hospital  

If you are asked to come to the hospital, please follow these instructions for every visit:

  1. Complete the Covid-19 checklist  before every single visit to the hospital. (This must be done on the same day you are visiting the hospital)
  2. Ensure you have followed the self-isolation guidance if you have been asked to do so by your consultant or care team
  3. Wear a face covering You must wear a face covering at all times while inside our hospitals. This is to prevent the spread of infection to you, other patients
    and our staff. Face covering must cover your mouth and nose.
  4. Avoid public transport, and wear a face covering while travelling, whether you use hospital transport, a family car or a taxi
  5. Use hand sanitiser or wash your hands when you arrive at the hospital

Covid-19 checklist - preparing for your procedure or surgery

You will be asked to complete a checklist every time before visit the hospital, whether for a face-to-face assessment, test or on the day of your procedure.

1. Initial assessment

Your first assessment for your procedure or surgery will be either a telephone or video call with your consultant or care team.

Some patients may be asked to come to hospital for a specific investigation or assessment before their surgery or procedure. This could include:

  • to see the anaesthetist
  • to have a test for common infections, such as MRSA
  • to have blood tests or x-rays
  • to have other specific tests, such as an ECG

If you need to come to hospital, we will explain why. If you are attending for a test or minor procedure, you may be asked by your consultant or care team to self-isolate before you attend. Please make sure you follow the advice about ‘Coming to hospital’ in this leaflet and the instructions on self-isolating if you have been asked by your consultant or care team to do so.

2. Preparing to come to hospital, including self-isolation if required

If you are coming to hospital for a procedure or surgery, we ask that you take extra care in the ten days before your procedure or surgery. Please follow physical distancing rules (keep a two-metre distance from others), wear a face covering and practise good hand hygiene (wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds each time).

Self-isolation 

If you are coming into hospital you need to self-isolate for:

overnight stay: diagnostics, procedures

14 days before.

day case under local anaesthetic or sedation for surgery, diagnostics, procedure

Take extra care 14 days before

If you are coming to hospital for surgery, diagnostics or a procedure, where you need to stay overnight, you must self-isolate for up to 14 days before in line with national guidance. If you have had the Covid-19 vaccine, you still need to self-isolate.

If you are coming to hospital for surgery, diagnostics or a procedure, as a day case under local anaesthetic or sedation, we advise you take extra care in the 14 days before. Please follow the national guidance, including maintaining physical distance of two-metres from others, wearing a face covering and practicing good hand hygiene such as washing your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds each time.

How to self-isolate

Self-isolating means you need to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone inside or outside your home. If you need a carer with you they must also follow the self-isolation guidance if required. Please discuss your individual circumstances with your consultant or care team.

Where possible this means that all members of your household should stay at home during this time as well.

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

  • staying physically apart as much as possible. Sleeping in separate rooms and using different bathrooms where possible. We do recognise 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
  • not using the same towels or crockery and making sure everything has been washed thoroughly before it is used by someone else.

3. Covid-19 testing

Three to five days before your procedure or surgery, you will be booked to come to hospital for a Covid-19 test. This includes people who have had the Covid-19 vaccine.

The test is a simple swab of the tonsils, back of the throat and nose.

When you travel for this appointment, you must wear a face covering and try to avoid public transport if possible.

As part of a home-testing initiative in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, some patients are being invited to take a home test rather than having a test in hospital. Your care team will contact you directly if this is the case.

You must continue to self-isolate after this test until your procedure.

These tests are a priority to ensure you are able to have the procedure or surgery you need. You will be called with your result the day before your procedure. If you test positive, we will delay your procedure and you will need to self-isolate (for 10 days) in accordance with government guidance. For more information visit: government guidance or contact your care team.  

4. The day of your hospital procedure or surgery

On the day of your procedure please ensure you have followed our instructions 'coming to hospital - this is very important.

You may be asked to use a particular car park and hospital entrance, so please check your clinic letter for details on where to go when you arrive.

Make sure you use the hand sanitiser as you enter the hospital or wash your hands. Please keep on your face covering, in line with government guidance on public spaces. If you are not sure where to go please ask for help or directions from the staff at the hospital entrance or the receptionists.

Please do not go into any other wards or clinical areas other than those you need to visit. If you need to have a carer with you, they should also have been following guidance on preparing for hospital, including self-isolation where required, and you should have discussed with your care team in advance.

When you get to the treatment area you will be greeted by hospital staff who will take your temperature and confirm your  Covid-19 check list.

Covid-19 vaccination for patients

If you are having surgery or a procedure that means you need to stay overnight, you may be offered a Covid-19 first vaccination at least ten days before your surgery. This is entirely voluntary and will not affect whether you can have treatment. Coming to hospital for the vaccination, does not affect your ten-day self-isolation period. If you have had your first vaccination elsewhere, you should wait to be called for your second vaccination at the same location. We cannot offer second dose vaccinations.

Staying overnight in hospital 

 If you are staying overnight in hospital following your procedure or surgery, please only bring essentials with you.
On the ward, all beds are spaced out to make sure you are not too close to other patients. The shower and toilet facilities on the ward will be cleaned after each patient use.
You must wear a face mask while on the ward, unless you have a medical oxygen mask and/or your care team advises you not to wear a face mask for medical reasons.
If at any time you feel anxious about being on the ward, make sure you speak to a member of staff. We are sorry that visitors are only permitted in exceptional circumstances at the moment. Your next of kin will be able to call the ward to find out how you are and there are other ways that you can keep in touch.

Mobile phones and tablets can be used and we offer free premium wifi so, if you have one of these devices, you can bring it with you. On most wards you will also be able to borrow a device – please ask a member of staff on the ward to help. We have a comprehensive inpatient information booklet with more information about your stay.  Find out more about staying overnight in hospital or ask a member of staff on the ward.

When you are ready to go home

We recommend that a friend, carer or relative collects you from the entrance of the hospital. If you need help to get to the entrance to meet them, one of our porters or nursing staff will assist you.

Depending on the nature of your procedure and recovery your consultant or care team may advise you to continue to self-isolate after leaving hospital. This additional period of self-isolation is a precaution as your immune system will be working hard to help your body to recover from the surgery you have had.

If you need any further information about your procedure or surgery, please call the number on your hospital letter.

Common questions

Shielding and hospital visits

If you were shielding, or you are considered clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable, you may still attend your hospital appointments, but please follow the instructions in this leaflet carefully. Please let the department you are visiting know that you were shielding and that you are clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable, during your phone assessment and when you arrive at the hospital.

Covid-19 vaccination and PPE

Please continue to wear a face mask to protect yourself and others, and to reduce any risk of passing on the Covid-19 infection to others. Our staff will continue to wear the right level of PPE to protect you.

Are visitors allowed to come into hospital with me?

To keep everyone safe, we are still restricting visitors to our hospitals. This includes visitors who have had the Covid-19 vaccine. There are exceptional circumstances when visitors are allowed, including:

  • one regular carer for a patient with additional needs, such as dementia
  • one visitor for a patient at the end of their life
  • one parent/guardian; and one birth partner
  • one parent/guardian for a child

If you think you may need a carer with you, please discuss this with the department before your visit.

How busy is the hospital

When you come to hospital there will be a few patients in waiting areas, and public areas have been adapted to support physical distancing.

How often is the hospital cleaned

Our staff are undertaking additional, regular cleaning and other infection control measures

Physical distance in hospital

Yes – please maintain at least a two-metre distance from others in public areas whenever possible, even if you are wearing a face-covering or have had the Covid-19 vaccination. This is anyone who comes to hospital with you.

Useful links:

Patient information

Important information for patients coming into hospital for a procedure or surgery