We offer a wide range of healthcare services, based at St Mary's Hospital, to people under 18 years of age. Our aim is to minimise disruption to your life and give you more say in the treatment and care you receive. And if we’ve looked after you for a long time, we’ll help you make the transition into adult services.

What to bring to your appointment

If you’re coming to hospital for an appointment, we suggest bringing:

  • Your appointment letter
  • A list of medications you take (this can be a photo of the packaging taken on your phone)
  • Any questions you have for the doctor or nurses
  • Something to drink
  • A healthy snack
  • Something to do – a book or tablet with some games

In this video, Zoe shows you what happens when you come to an outpatient appointment. One of your parents needs to attend your appointment with you, but you can ask them to wait outside if you would prefer to see the doctor or nurse alone. 

If you’re staying overnight

If you’re coming to stay as an inpatient, make sure you pack everything you’ll need to keep you comfortable and busy while you’re on the ward. We suggest bringing: 

  • Any medications you take
  • Pyjamas
  • A dressing gown and slippers
  • Comfortable clothing – you’ll need a few sets of clothes
  • Your toiletries
  • Books
  • A tablet or laptop, if you have one
  • Your school work

What to expect

The team

Whether you are coming to hospital for an appointment or you’ll be staying overnight or longer, you will probably meet a lot of people. This video introduces some of the team members and their roles on the ward.

All care teams include consultants, nurses, health care assistants, therapists, pharmacists, and play specialists. 

What will happen?

Before your outpatient appointment, a healthcare assistant may check your height, weight and blood pressure. Then, you will see a consultant. You may have an examination, and you may also need to undergo some tests – possibly a blood test or MRI scan. You are welcome to speak to a play specialist, who can help you find a few things to do while you wait for your appointment.

Staying in hospital

If you are coming to hospital to stay overnight or for several days, you may need to have your height, weight and blood pressure checked. You’ll also see a consultant and meet the other people involved in your care, such as nurses. A pharmacist may also come to see you to discuss any medications you are prescribed.

When you are admitted to hospital, we will work with you to develop a care plan that will help you recover and get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible. This plan will include specific goals for your time in hospital and will give you an idea about how much time you will need to spend as an inpatient. You will see the medical team twice a day, so will also have a chance speak to them to plan for your care after you are discharged from hospital.

If you are listed for surgery, you will be invited to hospital for a pre-assessment appointment. At this appointment, you will meet a doctor and a play specialist who will discuss your health and talk you through your surgery. On the day of your surgery, the surgeon and anaesthetist will visit you to discuss the procedure.

Each day, you’ll see one nurse per shift. There are two shift changes each day, so you will probably get to know a few of the nurses on the ward! In the mornings, a consultant will review your condition. Each week, there is one lead consultant on duty, so you will probably see the same consultant several times during your stay.


As a patient, you’ll play a really important role in helping us keep our wards safe. All of our wards are locked, so if you leave or enter the ward, don’t hold the door for anyone without an authorised pass. We know it sounds rude, but we want to make sure our wards stay private – just for staff, patients and their families and friends. Remind your visitors to check in at reception.

A day on the ward

In this video, Tobi explains what it’s like to come to hospital as an inpatient:

‘What matters to me’

If you are staying in hospital, one of the first things we’ll ask you do is a ‘what matters to me’ poster. You’ll draw or write the things that are most important to you and then we’ll hang your poster by your bed so that every doctor, nurse, pharmacist or anyone who comes to see you will know what you care about. You might tell us you need lots of quiet time, or you want to try to watch your favourite movies during your hospital stay.

You’ll be able to get your own breakfast while you’re staying with us – we have cereal and fresh fruit in our kitchen. We’ll give you a menu each morning, so you will be able to choose what you would like to eat for lunch and dinner – check out the menu here. Lunch is served between 12.00 and 13.00, and dinner is served between 17.00 and 18.00. If your friends want to visit, please ask them not to come during mealtimes – we like to keep the wards quiet so patients can eat in peace.


It is important to keep up with your school work while you are in hospital – if you don’t fall behind, it will be much easier to get back to your normal routine once you are feeling better. We have a schoolroom on the ward where you can attend classes and complete assignments. It is operated by the Chelsea Community Hospital School and offers sessions from 10.00 to 12.00 and from 13.30 to 15.30, Monday through Friday. It is a registered exam centre, so you can’t get out of sitting your exams while in hospital! Our teachers will coordinate with your school to ensure you can get the work you need in order to keep up. If you aren’t able to visit the school room, we may also be able to come to your bedside to help you complete your work.


We believe that fun and relaxation are essential for a speedy recovery. If you are staying with us, you’ll have a TV at your bedside (make sure you bring headphones so you can watch TV without disturbing your neighbours). Play specialists will help you find other activities and games to help you relax and have fun while you’re on the ward. You’ll also have access to our two wifi services: there is a free wifi service you can use to browse the web and keep up with your email and social media accounts, but you’ll need to use the premium wifi service to stream videos. This is available for a fee – click here to learn more.


The playroom at St Mary’s is filled with games and toys, but we also have a special area for young adults too. In the evenings, you’ll get priority in this room. If you are well enough to walk around, you can head to the lounge to watch TV, play a few games or simply get a change of scene.


Your parents or guardians are welcome to visit you anytime, but only one person can stay with you overnight. Your friends are also welcome to come and visit outside of school hours. Be sure to invite no more than two at a time though – more people can make the ward crowded and uncomfortable, so please respect your neighbours and tell your friends and siblings to visit you in small groups. They can stay until 20.00 in the evening, and then we ask all visitors to leave so you and your neighbours can wind down for sleep. 

Discharge and resources

By the time you are ready to go home, you will already have spent some time preparing for discharge and learning how to take care of yourself once you’ve left hospital. Before you leave, we will give you a report detailing the care and treatment you received in hospital, as well as any recommendations for follow-up care. We will send a copy of this letter to your GP.

From then on, you’ll usually go to your GP with any health issues that come up. Your GP will refer you back to our care if necessary. If you have a long-term condition that requires ongoing care, you may be assigned a specialist nurse to support your care. If this is the case, you’ll receive further instructions about how to stay in touch with the nurse before you leave hospital.

If a problem requires urgent or emergency care, please call your GP’s out-of-hours service or 111, or go to one of our urgent care centres or to our children’s A&E. For more information about what to do if you become unwell, please click here.

Friends and Family survey

We want all of our patients to have the best possible experience in hospital, so we will ask you to complete our ‘Friends and Family’ survey to give us some feedback. Use this survey to tell us what you liked, what you disliked, and what we could do better for our patients. Be honest!




Connecting Care for Children

Connecting Care for Children is an innovative programme drawing paediatric expertise and community support into primary care, where children’s and families’ needs are known and can be managed well. Click here to learn more www.cc4c.imperial.nhs.uk

Additional links and resources

NHS Choices

We understand you might be tempted to Google your symptoms, but we recommend using NHS Choices to search for information about your condition.

More videos

In addition to the videos you see here on this page, we have produced videos that show you exactly what happens during some common tests and examinations. You can see the complete selection of these videos  by following this link: