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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 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 urgent 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 family may be required to self-isolate for 14 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 14 days of arrival.  

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.

    Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is accepting urgent patient referrals. 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 14 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 14 days of arrival.  

    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: Each child is reviewed by our expert team and prioritised according to their clinical need. Your child’s safety and well-being is our number one priority. Our team will be in contact to discuss your child’s referral with you in more detail. 

    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.

    A: There may be a requirement for families to self-isolate on arrival to the UK if you are coming from a country that is not on the government's 'corridor list'. You can find more information on GOV.uk.

    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

    Non-resident carer or family members who are not coming to the hospital may need to self-isolate if coming from a country that is not on the 'corridor list'. 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.

    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. We no longer require patients to self-isolate pre-admission.

    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 arrived from a country that is not part of the government's 'corridor list' your child and the nominated carer/parent who is staying with them will be required to self-isolate at the hospital for 14 days, even if your child has a negative COVID-19 test result. 

    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, 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. We have worked with government guidance and experts in infection control to ensure that our guidance is correct, which means that From Monday 26th October 2020:

    • 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 on a ward, ideally only one parent or carer should visit during their stay but a maximum of two carers from the same household or support bubble may visit, one each day. Parents and carers from different households or social bubbles will not be able to visit and unfortunately, siblings will not be able to visit the hospital.

    We know there will be exceptional circumstances where it will be necessary to vary these rules. If you feel this is the case for your family, please contact your child’s clinical team to discuss your child’s needs directly if we haven’t already been in touch – they will then decide what exceptions, if any, can be accommodated.

    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 pals@gosh.nhs.uk or 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.

    When you arrive at one of our main entrances, only one adult will be allowed to enter the hospital, or two adults if your child is here for an overnight stay (see details above). Unfortunately, no siblings will be able to visit. Where possible, our GOSH Guides will then take you to the ward or give you directions. If other family members must travel with you to GOSH, they will need to wait outside. We ask that they follow social distancing guidelines and stay two metres away from other people in the area.

    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. In some cases we may also ask you to wear a mask at your child’s bedside, for instance if you are visiting the hospital while in a quarantine period as a household. If this is the case your clinical team will explain the rules to you. 

    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.

    We may need to test your child for COVID-19, even if they do not have symptoms. 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.

    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.

    If your child is in intensive care, two carers will be allowed into the hospital, but only one should visit the bedside at a time. These should be the same two carers each day.

    If your child is likely to be staying at GOSH for more than a week, you can nominate another carer to swap with you after seven days, to make sure you get some rest. Speak to your clinical team to find out how this would work and what the nominated carer needs to know.

    A: We understand that some families might be worried about visiting GOSH during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want you to know that your safety, and the safety of all our patients, families and staff, is our number one priority.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    While at GOSH, you and your child will be asked to wear a mask during your visit. This is in line with the latest guidance and will help us protect all patients, families and staff, especially those at increased risk because of COVID-19..

    We know some children won’t be able to wear a mask, for example if they’re very young. It’s very important that you put on and dispose of your mask properly. You’ll be given guidance on how to do this when you visit the hospital, but if you’re unsure or have any questions, please speak to a member of the clinical team.

    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 at 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) recently reinstated congestion charges and other road fees, effective from 18 May. 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 cafes 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 https://gosh.com.kw/coronavirus-covid-19-information-hub/resources-families

    A:

    A: The Children’s Hospital School is open, with priority for teaching given to children and young people who are staying at GOSH for two weeks or longer. We have re-arranged our schoolroom so that we can deliver lessons safely.

    If you and your child would like virtual support or educational advice, our teaching teams are here to help. Please contact the school as you normally would. You can find guidance and recommendations at gosh.nhs.uk/goshschool.

    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: In response to COVID-19, GOSH suspended all international & private referrals on Friday 13th March. We are now accepting new referrals and rescheduling some cancelled appointments and admissions based on clinical need. Please let us know if you would like to reschedule your child’s admission or appointment and our expert team will advise you.

    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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