Visiting our hospitals

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Visiting is suspended with immediate effect and until further notice.

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

The only exceptional circumstances where an immediate family member or carer can visit are:

  • The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care
  • You are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour
  • You are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child.
  • You are supporting someone with a mental health issue, who has dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed

Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements.

Please ensure that you follow the national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of coronavirus, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS.

Your health, safety and wellbeing, that of our patients, communities and our people remain our absolute priority.

To keep in touch with your loved ones in hospital, we offer a message to a loved one service – read more about the service.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this challenging time.

Please bring your own face coverings when coming to our hospital

People infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we have introduced new measures to keep our patients and our people safe.

From Monday, 15 June, you now need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital.

What does this mean for me?

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our hospital safe. If you are coming to hospital, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety, the safety of other patients (or any visitors who have been permitted by exception) and our people.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to hospital, please speak to a member of staff on arrival and we will provide you with one.

If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.

For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival. 

If you are a deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include the use of clear masks where possible, as well as visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.

You will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the hospital setting.

Where do I go for more information?

If you have further questions regarding the changes we have made, please contact the department your appointment is with, as listed on your appointment letter.

Information for relatives of patients with suspected/confirmed COVID-19

Please take a look at our  information for relatives of patients with suspected/confirmed COVID-19   - this information has been designed to answer questions you may have about your loved one having suspected coronavirus (COVID-19). If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the nurse in charge.

 

Norovirus (vomiting bug) 

Please do not visit our hospital if you have been unwell with sickness and/or diarrhoea, or you have been in contact with someone with these symptoms, until at least 48 hours after experiencing the last symptom. 

Norovirus can spread very easily from person to person – please protect our patients and people by not visiting our hospital until you are better.
 

Filming and photography

We recognise, whilst at our hospital, our patients or their families may wish to mark an occasion, such as the birth of a baby, with a photograph or video. While we support this, we have a duty to ensure that the privacy of other individuals within our hospital is respected.

Our patients or their families may take photos of themselves for personal reasons and for their own personal use only. Before any filming or photography is conducted:

  • Consent and permission for the images to be taken must be given by the senior nurse or matron on duty 
     
  • Consent must also be sought from the patient or individual in the photo or video. Consent can only be obtained if the patient or individual has the capacity to give it. If they do not have the capacity to give consent, then the filming or photography must not be taken
     
  • It is not permitted for any patient, carer, or visitor to film or photograph our staff or any part of the premises without written consent
     
  • Patients, carers, and visitors found to be breaching this policy could be asked to leave the premises, which may result in police intervention and/or legal proceedings

You can read our full policy, alternatively, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service for more information by calling 01279 827211 or email paht.pals@nhs.net. 

 

NHS Wi-Fi

We offer a free NHS Wi-Fi service to all patients, visitors and guests at The Princess Alexandra main site in Harlow.

Thank you to you all at work in these tough times. You are all brilliant trying so save lives and trying to beat this horrible virus. Without you we don’t know where we would be now. Love to you all in these challenging times for our NHS.                                      

                                                                                     Patient