Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

The latest information on symptoms of coronavirus infection and areas where recent travel may have resulted in a high risk of exposure can be found here.

Advice for parents during coronavirus 

Useful advice for parents during coronavirus.

New outpatient appointment guidance

In response to the national guidance issued regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), we are working to provide the majority of our outpatient appointments virtually (not face-to-face), with telephone clinics and video clinics for our patients where appropriate.

Please do not attend your outpatient appointment at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, St Margaret’s Hospital or Herts and Essex Hospital if your appointment is after Sunday 22 March.

Our teams will call you before your appointment is due to advise you if you are required to attend a face-to-face appointment, so please do not call the hospital, as we are extremely busy.

We will ensure that we keep you updated - thank you for your understanding and support.

Radiology and cardiology diagnostics appointments

All appointments for radiology and cardiology diagnostics will continue as normal unless you are in self isolation, so cannot attend for your scan. Please notify the team via the telephone number on your appointment letter if this applies to you.

New advice for visitors

We know how important visitors are to our patients and we are pleased to welcome you however at this time as we manage the demands of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have made the decision to introduce restricted visiting to patients we are currently caring for.

As a visitor we ask you to respect our decision and help us to limit the spread of potential infection. In order to protect our patients and staff:

  • No visitors (except in exceptional circumstances in agreement with the nurse in charge)
  • Children's ward: One parent or carer
  • Maternity: Only one birthing partner only with no other visitors
  • All visitors must wash their hands before and after visiting relatives
  • Visitors must be over the over the age of 16 – children are not allowed
  • Please do not enter the hospital in you feel unwell
  • If you have a high temperature or new cough please return home and self-isolate
  • Please only visit the areas of the hospital where your relative or friend is staying
  • Our restaurant is currently closed to visitors to give our staff a place to be with each other and take some time to rest

Visiting our hospital

  • No visitors (except in exceptional circumstances in agreement with the nurse in charge)
  • Maternity: Only one birthing partner only with no other visitors
  • Children's ward: One parent or carer

More information

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

•       You think you might have coronavirus

•       In the last 14 days you have returned from a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus;

•       You've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with coronavirus via coughs and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and also returned home in isolation.

Any equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases is thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.

If you are concerned you may have coronavirus (COVID-19), do not come to our hospitals or visit the emergency department (ED)/A&E.

Instead, please call NHS 111. You can visit the government website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

Public Health England have produced several useful links regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), some of which can be found below:

NHS coronavirus update

Coronavirus FAQs

Department of Health and Social Care Twitter feed

Public Health England Twitter feed


Visiting our hospitals

Advice for patients with a planned procedure

A number of patients who have a planned procedure have been calling to check if the procedure will go ahead. Patients who have returned from a category 2 area should still come in for their planned procedure unless you have symptoms.

A reminder for all our visitors to continue to follow the usual guidance before visiting and whilst at our hospitals:

  • Wash your hands or apply hand sanitiser before and after you’ve visited your relative or friend
  • Do not sit on the bed
  • Only two visitors are permitted to visit the bedside of each patient

coronavirus image

More information about existing health conditions and coronavirus is now becoming available from support organisations, such as:

Inpatient comment:

Everyone offered words of such reassurance and kindness. I felt so cared for and the communication with me at all times was fantastic.