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What to expect when coming to hospital

We understand that you might be worried about coronavirus – also known as COVID-19 – particularly when coming to the hospital. This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) sets out our advice and the action we are taking to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

GOSH is accepting patient referrals. Each referral will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by our expert team and prioritised by clinical need. We are accepting outpatient referrals, but please be aware should your child require further treatment through an inpatient admission we may not be able to accommodate this for certain procedures at the current time.

International patients travelling to the UK for treatment and their families may be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival to the UK. This is required for all families coming from a country that is not on the government’s 'corridor list'; you can find more information on GOV.uk. If you are required to self-isolate, you will still be able to visit the hospital within the first 10 days of arrival.  

All travel corridors are currently closed: for more information about UK 'travel corridors' please visit GOV.UK

We will discuss self-isolation requirements and additional safety measures with you at the time of booking an appointment.

We are following official guidance from the NHS, UK Government and World Health Organisation. The situation is changing constantly so we will update this information as needed – you can always check the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus  for up to the minute advice.

    As a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are limiting visitors to the hospital. While we understand that this will be difficult for families, it is helping us greatly reduce the risk of infection, keeping you, your child and everyone else at GOSH safer.

    • If your child has an outpatient appointment, only one carer will be allowed into the hospital. Unfortunately, siblings will not be able to visit.
    • If your child is staying at GOSH overnight or longer, two carers per family will be allowed into the hospital but only one will be able to stay overnight.
    • In some areas of the hospital including but not limited to the Mildred Creek Unit, visiting arrangements may differ and will be agreed at the time of your child’s admission.  
    • Due to social distancing restrictions, only one carer may accompany a child to Theatre or Radiology.
    • Unfortunately, siblings will not be able to visit the hospital.
    • Our staff will keep a careful eye on waiting areas and wards, and may ask you to wait somewhere else if it’s becoming difficult to keep everyone safely spaced.
    • If you feel it is critical for your child to be accompanied by additional carers, please contact your clinical team in advance of your child’s appointment/admission to discuss your child’s needs directly.

    Before your child’s appointment/ admission, we may ask you some questions regarding possible symptoms of coronavirus. While you are in the hospital, we will ask you to wear a mask, and follow guidance regarding good hand hygiene and social distancing. If you develop symptoms during your admission, please inform a member of staff immediately. If anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of your child’s admission, please contact your clinical team as soon as possible.

    Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is accepting patient referrals. However due to the current national lockdown we may need to make some changes to appointments and admissions and will contact you directly about this. Each referral will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by our expert team and prioritised by clinical need. We know delays to treatment can cause great anxiety. Your child’s health remains our number one priority and our clinical team are working hard to prioritise those who need our care most urgently.

    International patients travelling to the UK for treatment and their family may be required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival to the UK. This is required for all families coming from a country that is not on the government’s 'corridor list'; you can find more information on GOV.uk. If you are required to self-isolate, you will still be able to visit the hospital within the first 10 days of arrival.  

    All travel corridors are currently closed: for more information about UK 'travel corridors' please visit GOV.UK

    We will discuss self-isolation requirements and additional safety measures with you at the time of booking an appointment.

    The safety of our patients, families and staff is vitally important to us, even before coronavirus. This is why we have expanded and improved our telehealth services, offering you our expert advice and services online. All or part of your child’s treatment journey may now take place online; this is to ensure the safety of your family and our staff.

    If you visit the hospital, you will notice that we have additional safety measures in place to protect everyone at GOSH. You can find more information about our safety measures on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) information hub.

    If your treatment with us was postponed, you will hear from us shortly. If you have any questions about any upcoming or current treatment, please contact your consultant directly.

    To refer a child or patient, please visit our referral page online, email us on privateinfo@gosh.nhs.uk or phone us on +44 (0)20 7762 6822.

     

    A: GOSH continues to be open and safe to support our patients and families. However, as we’re in lockdown we may need to make some changes to appointments and admissions, but we will contact you directly if this affects you and your child.

    We learnt a lot earlier last year about how helpful virtual appointments by telephone or video call can be, so we’re likely to review our upcoming appointment to see which can be converted to a virtual appointment so you don’t have to come to GOSH.

    We may also have to alter some planned admissions but our clinical teams will always make sure that children and young people who need to continue to have their planned admission, treatment or operation can do so. Again, if this affects your child, we will contact you directly.

    Read more about the impact of the lockdown on our services at GOSH here

    Read more about travelling to the UK from overseas by downloading our 'Great Ormond Street Hospital Update on Quarantine And Visiting Restrictions' document, or refer to FAQs around coming to the UK further down this page. 

    We are accepting outpatient referrals, but please be aware should your child require further treatment through an inpatient admission we may not be able to accommodate this for certain procedures at the current time. Where relevant your consultant will discuss this with you in more detail.

    Please contact us or fill in a referral form for more information.

    A: The UK is currently open to international healthcare visitors. Find out more on GOV.UK

    As the situation is changing constantly, we recommend you check the GOV.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest UK policies around COVID-19.

    We also recommend you speak to your relevant local government agencies about travelling to the UK and any additional visa requirements.

    Please download our 'Great Ormond Street Hospital Update on Quarantine And Visiting Restrictions January' document for more information. 

    A: The government has suspended all travel corridors; currently all visitors to the UK must self-isolate for up to ten days. You can find more information on GOV.uk.

    If you intend to travel to England, you must now provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 72 hours before departure. Before you arrive in to the UK, you will need to complete a passenger locator form. This can be completed up to 48 hours before you enter the UK. All other current entry requirements and restrictions continue to apply.

    We will discuss self-isolation requirements and additional safety measures with you at the time of booking an appointment. 

    On arrival to the UK you may be asked to show the following information:

    • Information about journey and contact details
    • A letter or S2 certificate from GOSH explaining your child’s treatment
    • A letter (from employer/government/GOSH) for any adults accompanying your child explaining they are travelling to support and providing care

    On arrival to the UK 

    On arrival to the UK When you arrive in England, you must travel directly to the place you are staying and not leave until 10 days have passed since you were last in the country, territory or island, you departed from. This is known as ‘self-isolating’ during quarantine.

    In certain cases, families travelling to the UK (who have had no known COVID-19 contact or symptoms, may utilise the ‘Test & Release’ system. They can seek a test after 5 days arrival to UK and can ‘release’ themselves from quarantine if COVID-19 negative. This will not apply to all countries of origin, please consult the UK Government website for details.

    Non-resident carer or family members who are not coming to the hospital may need to self-isolate. All families should follow government advice around washing your hands frequently, social distancing, only going out if necessary, wearing a face covering in public places and not using public transport where possible.

    Before travelling to the UK, we recommend you speak to your relevant local government agencies and review your country’s local quarantine policies (on returning home) as well as reviewing the latest UK policies on GOV.UK.

    For more information please download our 'Great Ormond Street Hospital Update on Quarantine And Visiting Restrictions January' document. 

    A: GOSH requires all patients and carers travelling from overseas to provide the results of a COVID-19 test taken 72-hours before admission to the hospital. If you are already in the UK, we will schedule an appointment for COVID-19 screening if required. 

    For more information see gosh.com.kw/coronavirus-COVID-19-information-hub

    Travelling directly to GOSH from airport

    GOSH requires all patients and carers travelling from overseas to provide the results of a COVID-19 test taken 72-hours before admission to the hospital. We advise that you do not travel on public transport where possible and wear a face covering in public places.

    Staying in the UK before arriving at GOSH

    Patients and carers who arrive in the UK but do not go immediately to the hospital may be asked to attend GOSH to undergo COVID-19 testing 72-hours before coming to GOSH.

    If you are currently living in the UK

    If you are a UK patient or already in the UK, you may be asked to undergo COVID-19 testing either at GOSH or at a local testing centre 72-hours before arrival to the hospital. You will be told about these requirements before coming to the hospital.

    Coming to GOSH 

    If you are due to visit GOSH and you, or your child, is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or you think you may have come into close contact with someone affected, please call us for advice before visiting the hospital.

    Before your visit, we recommend that you watch our family-friendly animation at gosh.com.kw/coronavirus-COVID-19-information-hub to meet Otto the Octopus and learn about the four ways you can help us reduce the spread of infection. This includes wearing a face mask at all times while you’re at GOSH, unless you’re in a private cubicle with your child, or eating or drinking. Your child may also be asked to wear a mask when they move around the hospital. This is in line with the latest national guidance.

    We will provide masks for you and your child, but if your child isn’t able to wear one, for example if they’re very young, that’s fine. When wearing a mask, make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin. Try not to touch it while it’s on. Take it off using the loops and clean your hands after you throw it away.

    Outpatient appointment

    If you are coming to GOSH for an outpatient appointment we will contact you 24 hours before your appointment to ask questions about you and your families’ health. We will ask you these questions again when you arrive at GOSH. This is in line with national guidance to keep you, your family and our staff safe.  

    You and your child may be placed in isolation on arrival to GOSH for your outpatient appointment. We will let you know about this beforehand.

    Inpatient admission

    On arrival to GOSH for an inpatient admission, you (or the carer who will be resident) and your child will be placed in isolation and have standard admission and a COVID-19 test performed. Your child will remain under isolation until your COVID-19 test results come back and are negative.

    Please note that if you have recently arrived from overseas, your child and the nominated carer/parent who is staying with them will be required to self-isolate at the hospital for 10 days, even if your child has a negative COVID-19 test result. 

    All travel corridors are currently closed: for more information about UK 'travel corridors' please visit GOV.UK

    A: Our doctors and infection control specialists have been working together closely and listening carefully to national guidance to ensure we can provide your child with the care they need at GOSH safely.

    If you are due to visit GOSH and you, or your child, is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or you think you may have come into close contact with someone affected, please call your child’s speciality team for support before visiting the hospital. Please do not go to your GP or pharmacist – stay at home and use the NHS 111 online service at 111.nhs.uk for urgent medical advice.

    If you are coming to GOSH, there are some guidelines and behaviours we’re asking families to follow, both before your visit and while you’re at the hospital. These are an important part of the measures we’ve put in place to keep everyone at the hospital – patients, families, and our staff – as safe as possible.

    Before your visit, we recommend that you watch our family-friendly animation at gosh.nhs.uk/staysafe to meet Otto the Octopus and learn about the four ways you can help us reduce the spread of infection. This includes wearing a face mask at all times while you’re at GOSH, unless you’re at your child’s bedside, or eating or drinking. Your child may also be asked to wear a mask when they move around the hospital. This is in line with the latest national guidance.

    We will provide masks for you and your child, but if your child isn’t able to wear one, for example if they’re very young, that’s fine. When wearing a mask, make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin. Try not to touch it while it’s on. Take it off using the loops and clean your hands after you throw it away.

    As a precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are limiting visitors to the hospital. While we understand that this will be difficult for families, it is helping us greatly reduce the risk of infection, keeping you, your child and everyone else at GOSH safer.

     

    • If your child has an outpatient appointment, only one carer will be allowed into the hospital. Unfortunately, siblings will not be able to visit.
    • If your child is staying at GOSH overnight or longer, two carers per family will be allowed into the hospital but only one will be able to stay overnight.
    • In some areas of the hospital including but not limited to the Mildred Creek Unit, visiting arrangements may differ and will be agreed at the time of your child’s admission.  
    • Due to social distancing restrictions, only one carer may accompany a child to Theatre or Radiology.
    • Unfortunately, siblings will not be able to visit the hospital.
    • Our staff will keep a careful eye on waiting areas and wards, and may ask you to wait somewhere else if it’s becoming difficult to keep everyone safely spaced.
    • If you feel it is critical for your child to be accompanied by additional carers, please contact your clinical team in advance of your child’s appointment/admission to discuss your child’s needs directly.

    Before your child’s appointment/ admission, we may ask you some questions regarding possible symptoms of coronavirus. While you are in the hospital, we will ask you to wear a mask, and follow guidance regarding good hand hygiene and social distancing. If you develop symptoms during your admission, please inform a member of staff immediately. If anyone in your household tests positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of your child’s admission, please contact your clinical team as soon as possible.

    If your child is coming to GOSH for a planned admission, you can find everything you need to know before you arrive at gosh.nhs.uk/admissions-during-covid-19.

    If you’re coming to GOSH for an outpatient appointment, you should arrive no more than ten minutes before your child’s appointment time. This will help us make sure waiting areas don’t get too crowded. For everything else you need to know before your outpatient appointment, please read our special guidance at gosh.nhs.uk/covid-19-outpatients.

    If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming trip to GOSH, please contact the PALS team on 020 7829 7862 or at pals@gosh.nhs.uk or contact your clinical team via MyGOSH at gosh.nhs.uk/your-hospital-visit/mygosh.

    A: When you visit GOSH, you may notice that things look or run slightly differently than previously. These steps have been put in place to keep everyone at GOSH as safe as possible. Things may continue to change as we respond to the latest guidance, but we will always contact you if there are any major changes to your child’s appointment, admission or procedure.

    Where possible, our GOSH Guides will then take you to the ward or give you directions.

    We’ll provide face masks for you to wear at all times while you’re at GOSH, unless you’re at your child’s bedside, or eating or drinking.

    We will need to test your child for COVID-19, even if they do not have symptoms, along with the parent or carer accompanying them. The test involves collecting a bit of mucus from their nose and/or throat, using a small tube or cotton bud. It might be a little uncomfortable and make them cough or sneeze. This will help us ensure we keep you, your child and everyone else at GOSH as safe as possible. You can find out exactly what’s involved at gosh.nhs.uk/covid-19-testing.

    You may notice other changes as you move around the hospital, for example one-way systems and new waiting area layouts. These changes are helping us to reopen services safely and we appreciate your support in making sure everyone follows the new guidance.

    Please also check our specialty FAQs at gosh.nhs.uk/covid-19-specialty-guides. These may include specific advice for your child and what to expect when you visit GOSH.

    You might notice fewer hospital staff around the building. We have thought very carefully about how many people we need to deliver care safely to our patients, while minimising the number of people in the building. Our clinical teams have been reviewing every procedure, admission and appointment carefully to determine which patients are able to come to the hospital, which appointments can be delivered by other means, and which can be delayed safely. They have also been looking at the way we run our clinics and services, making changes to things like the layout of waiting areas and reducing the need for you to travel around the hospital.

    You will see staff wearing various types of personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks and aprons. They’re trained on how to reduce the risk of passing on the virus within the hospital, including when masks and other types of PPE should be worn and how cleaning activities should be carried out across the hospital. This is based on the latest national guidance for COVID-19 infection control.

    We are also advising staff, patients and families to follow social distancing and handwashing guidelines wherever possible. You might notice our friendly starfish floor stickers around the hospital, reminding everyone to keep a safe distance. You can watch our family-friendly animation at gosh.nhs.uk/staysafe to meet Otto the octopus and learn what you can do to avoid the spread of infection at GOSH.

    A: We understand that our families travel long distances to receive treatment at GOSH. While we understand that restricting visitors to one adult carer only will be difficult for families, limiting the number of visitors to the hospital helps us greatly reduce the risk of infection, keeping you, your child and everyone else at GOSH safer.

    We know there may be some cases where it is critical to have more than one carer. If you feel this is the case, please contact your child’s clinical team to discuss your child’s needs directly.

    A: We're listening carefully to the latest national guidance on COVID-19 testing, to make sure we keep you, your family and our staff as safe as possible. In line with the latest advice, we are now testing patients and the parent accompanying them to GOSH.

    The test will involve collecting a bit of mucus from the nose and/or throat, using a small tube or cotton bud. It might be a little uncomfortable and make your child cough or sneeze. You can find out exactly what’s involved at gosh.nhs.uk/covid-19-testing.

    This will help us ensure we keep you, your child and everyone else at GOSH as safe as possible. If your child tests positive for COVID-19, we will still ensure they get the care and treatment they need. If you have any concerns about having the test, please contact your clinical team.

    We have clear processes in place to immediately isolate anyone found to be positive, while continuing to deliver expert care and follow strict infection control guidelines. If you or your child have symptoms before you come to GOSH, please call your clinical team before you leave, for advice and support.

    Staff who start to show symptoms while they are at work will immediately remove themselves from clinical areas for the safety of their patients.

    For key hospital staff who have been isolating at home, we have a very clear process to decide when and how it’s safe for them to return to work. This goes above and beyond Government guidelines and is designed to make sure no one returns to work unless they are fully recovered and not putting others at risk.

    A: We're listening carefully to the latest national guidance on COVID-19 testing, to make sure we keep you, your family and our staff as safe as possible. In line with the latest advice, we are now testing certain groups of patients. Please contact us if you want more information about testing.

    A: We ask that you wear a face mask at all times while you’re at GOSH, unless you’re in a private cubicle with your child, or eating or drinking. Your child may also be asked to wear a mask when they move around the hospital. This is in line with the latest national guidance.

    We will provide masks for you and your child, but if your child isn’t able to wear one, for example if they’re very young, that’s fine. When wearing a mask, make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin. Try not to touch it while it’s on. Take it off using the loops and clean your hands after you throw it away.

    Please clean your hands before putting on a mask, and clean your hands after taking off your mask. 

    Please avoid bringing cloth masks as we do not have the necessary facilities to wash these. You will be provided with a mask on your arrival.

    A: Our staff are wearing various types of personal protective equipment (PPE), depending on where they work in the hospital. They’re trained on how to reduce the risk of passing on the virus within the hospital, including when masks and other types of PPE should be worn and how cleaning activities should be carried out across the hospital. Our guidelines are based on the latest national guidance for COVID-19 infection control.

    If you have a question about PPE please speak to your nurse or ask to speak to your Ward Manager.

    A: Learn more about parking at GOSH here or ask at main reception (open 24/7) when you arrive at the hospital.

    Please note that Transport for London (TfL) has reinstated all road charges. See tfl.gov.uk for more information. In specific circumstances, you may be able to be reimbursed for congestion charge payments – visit gosh.nhs.uk/your-hospital-visit/travel-reimbursement to see if you’re eligible.   

     

     

    A: To make sure you have access to hot and cold food all day, our Lagoon restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    You’ll find a selection of main meals to choose from, including Halal and vegetarian options. There are also lighter snacks, fresh fruit and delicious puddings.

    You may find some shops open in the local area, which will be operating with social distancing measures in place. Many cafés and restaurants are open for takeaways only at the moment.

    A: Play is an essential part of the support provided to patients at GOSH, and the hospital’s dedicated Play team will continue to work with patients at the hospital during this time, while following all the infection control guidelines that are in place. As part of this, we have taken the decision to close play areas, but have a variety of ways patients can still access play services.

    The Play team have prepared activity packs including single use crafts, protected in sealed bags, for patients and their carer to use in their own room or bay. Play Specialist support for distraction is available as well as a range of sensory toys that are soothing.

    If you have any questions about how to access the support of our Play team, please check the sign on the ward’s play room door, speak to your ward’s Play Specialist, or ask the Nurse in Charge. You can find online resources for families, including activities recommended by the Play team, at gosh.com.kw/covid-19/resources-families

     

    A: Supporting our wonderful staff is a major priority for GOSH. We are carefully following updates in Public Health England (PHE) advice, including changes to PPE recommendations.

    We want to make sure our staff feel safe, valued, looked after and able to ask for help if they need it. This has included offering support with things like accommodation near the hospital and on-site food provision, as well as free services to support mental health and wellbeing.

    You will see our staff wearing masks and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE) around the hospital. All staff are following strict guidelines about when PPE should and should not be worn, based on the latest NHS guidance.

    A: To reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection, we need to restrict people coming to GOSH. This includes visiting to collect medication. We are making arrangements to post your child’s medicines to your home via Royal Mail Special Delivery. We will contact you to discuss your child’s specific needs and preferences.

    We hope this helps to ensure your child’s medicine supply is not affected in the current situation. As always, please make sure you have at least two weeks’ supply of regular and long-term medicines. If you have moved home recently, please make sure that we have your current address and contact details. If you have any queries about your child’s medicines, please contact your Clinical Nurse Specialist, check the Electronic Medicines Compendium website or email medicine.information@gosh.nhs.uk.

    You can also use the MyGOSH online portal to keep in touch with your child’s clinical team, discuss their medicines, view test results, change appointments and more. Find out more and register at gosh.nhs.uk/your-hospital-visit/mygosh.

    If you are staying at GOSH and your child needs medicines to take home with them, we will collect these from the Pharmacy and bring them to you on the ward.

    A: The vaccines are not licensed by the MHRA for people under 16 years old so we can’t offer this to children and young people. Our main priority at the moment is offering the vaccine to all our members of staff – clinical and non-clinical – as we believe this is the best way to beat the virus.

    If you are required to quarantine because you have arrived from outside the UK (after 4am 18/01/2021), the following rules apply;

    On arrival to the UK, you should travel to your accommodation by private vehicle, avoiding public transport.

    On arriving at your private accommodation, you need to follow the following rules for the next 10 days;

    • You cannot visit public areas, whether for the purpose of exercise, open air recreation or otherwise.
    • You should not go shopping. If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives, or order a delivery. If you do not have family or friends in the UK who can assist, please contact your sponsor for assistance.
    • You must only exercise within your home or garden.

    An exception to this rule is if you need urgent medical assistance (or where your doctor has advised you to get medical assistance). For more information, please review the UK Government website.

    If Self-Isolation is required due to contact with a person who has been identified as COVID-19 positive, or if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result, you must self-isolate for 10 days as per national guidance.

    You must not leave your home if you're self-isolating.

    • do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can
    • do not go on public transport or use taxis
    • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home
    • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care
    • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

    For more information, please review the UK Government website. The same rules for quarantine will apply, as you must not leave your home /residence.

    Further information and support

    Information from the NHS on the NHS website.

    Information for children is available on the BBC Newsround website.

    General FAQs and Specialty information.

    About COVID-19 coronavirus

    The bug affects the lungs, making it harder to breathe.

    You do not need to panic or do anything differently. The NHS says we should all:

    • Wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds lots of times during the day.
    • Wash your hands when you get home and when you arrive at work or school.
    • Use alcohol gel if you cannot use soap and water.
    • If you need to cough or sneeze, always use a tissue to catch it rather than your hands. If you don’t have any tissues, use your sleeve instead of your hands.
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