COVID-19 updates

Help Us Help You Stay Safe in Hospital during COVID-19

Whilst restrictions are being lifted in most public places on 19 July 2021, strict Infection Control needs to be followed in hospitals and healthcare settings, to stop vulnerable people from being placed at additional risk.

Please read the information below, or download the patient leafelt, if you are planning on coming to the hospital:

Download patient information leafletAdvice for attending hospital appointments

Visiting a patient

Attending the emergency department

Coming in for a diagnostic scan

Coming in for a planned admission (including day surgery)

Advice for attending hospital appointments

(Updated July 2021)

Please attend if you are called in

Where possible, we will arrange remote appointments so that you can speak to your clinician from the comfort of your own home and don’t have to travel to the hospital.

However, if you have been asked to come in for a face-to-face appointment, we need to see you, so please still attend. We are following strict infection control processes to keep you safe when you attend for an appointment.

  • Please attend alone if you can, unless a carer is required or in exceptional circumstances, for example, you are expecting to receive bad news. This will help us reduce the number of people coming into the hospital. If you have any questions, please call the number on your appointment letter to discuss this.
  • Please wear a face covering to your appointment and bring a plastic bag with you to put your face covering into, should you need to take it off as part of your examination or treatment.
  • Please try to arrive as close to your appointment time as you can


Diagnostic appointments

It is very important that you do not delay coming forward for your scan, particularly if your doctor has referred you as they suspect cancer (also known as 2ww - 2 week wait).

The risk of delaying treatment is very significant, but some people are naturally a bit hesitant of attending the hospital during the pandemic. Our departments have taken some important steps to ensure you can safely attend for your scan,

If you do not wish to attend an imaging appointment because of COVID-19 concerns, please contact the department so that we can reassign the appointment slot. This means that we can see as many people as possible as we address some of the delays that covid has caused. If you do cancel your appointment, we will cancel the investigation and inform the doctor who requested your test. They will need to make the referral again.


Waiting for appointments

We have reduced capacity for appointments due to caring for patients both with and without COVID-19. If you are waiting to hear about an appointment, please be patient. We are doing our best, but you may have to wait longer for your appointment.

Unfortunately, we've had to postpone some appointments and surgery in order to free up staff to help care for patients in the hospital with COVID-19 and other emergencies. However, we are continuing to see those patients who need to be seen as an emergency. We are trying very hard to continue to offer cancer care as planned.

If you become more unwell, please seek medical help.

Patients who are discharged home from hospital who have not been treated for COVID, will receive a follow-up telephone call from a nurse within 48 hours of discharge, to check everything is ok.

Thank you for your continued understanding and patience.

Please download and read this leaflet with advice for patients coming to hospital.


Visiting a patient

(Updated Monday, 04 June 2021)


Visiting in general wards

We are introducing some limited visiting from Monday 12 April 2021 in a safe and COVID-compliant way. Where visiting is allowed, we have a Rule of 1. This means one visitor for one hour, once a day, per patient.

Each bed in our ward bays has an allocated visiting hour. This is to ensure there is a maximum of one visitor per bay at any one time. Patients in side rooms will also be allocated a visiting hour by the ward manager.

The patient is asked to nominate one person to be their visitor to visit during their allocated hour.


Bed 1


Bed 2


Bed 3


Bed 4


Bed 5



Compassionate visiting: under compassionate circumstances, for example, where a patient is at the end of their life or in other exceptional circumstances, the ward manager has the discretion to extend visiting.

Patients who are positive for COVID cannot have visitors, except under compassionate circumstances.

Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should not visit, nor should anyone who has been in contact with some confirmed or showing symptoms even if these are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others. If visitors have symptoms they should isolate for 10 days and organise a test; members of the household should also isolate.

Visitors will be asked to comply with measures to limit the spread of the virus by wearing a surgical face mask, sanitising their hands on entering and exiting the ward and observing 2m social distancing. All visitors are required to report to the nurse in charge before entering the patient bed areas. Visitors will be asked to provide the ward with their contact details for the purposes of track and trace.

There are exceptions - please see list below for further details[i] - and the ward manager retains discretion for compassionate visiting.

This approach will be reviewed in line with NHS and Government guidelines and local Public Health advice and we reserve the right to temporarily stop visiting in any ward or area affected by an outbreak.


Visiting in maternity

(Updated 23rd August 2021)

Ruth May, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, has informed all maternity service providers that they need to use the availability of testing mechanisms to reduce risk of transmission to the pregnant person, support persons, staff and the wider public.

Therefore, we need to ensure that all pregnant persons and support partners attending appointments show evidence of a negative lateral flow test on arrival at any routine appointment. This does not apply to any triage or Delivery Suite admission, where testing will take place on arrival as is the case now.

This test should have taken place within the 24 hours prior to the appointment (but preferably as close to the appointment as possible). Tests can be ordered here:

If you test positive, please let your midwife know and any routine appointment will be rearranged.

For up to date information, please visit the University Hospitals Plymouth Maternity Services Facebook Page.

We welcome partners of pregnant persons requiring support through antenatal and scan attendances, for the start of induction of labour, during labour, as well as in the postnatal period.

A partner can attend each appointment with the pregnant person; however will need to wait in a waiting area or car until called. Partners can attend at all times for a triage assessment or in labour.

One support partner can attend the postnatal ward between 10.00 and 20.00 each day.

Support partners and visitors are required to wear face coverings when in the hospital, unless exempt.

We are continuing to ask that for routine appointments, you and your support partner do a lateral flow test prior to your appointment. Thank you.


Paediatrics areas

For outpatients, one parent or guardian will be allowed to attend, with the ability to allow two (from a family bubble) if appropriate in discussion with the consultant.

In the Children's Assessment Unit, one parent or guardian will be permitted, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

When a child is admitted, one parent or guardian can be in attendance. A second parent/ carer will be offered a flexible hour slot to visit.



In line with our Carers' Policy, we will give a choice on whether the carer wishes to take on/continue with their caring role while the person is in hospital. We will ensure that they have the access and support necessary to enable them to provide care should they so choose. The time allowed on the ward may be limited.


[i] Exceptions are listed below:

  • Patient receiving end-of-life care.
  • A familiar carer/parent or guardian/supporter/personal assistant
  • Both parents/guardians where the family bubble can be maintained
  • Patients may be accompanied where appropriate and necessary to assist their communication and/or to meet their health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs.
  • Patients who may require additional measures to reduce the risk of infection because they are immunocompromised, for example, undergoing transplant, stem cell treatment, etc.
  • In addition, it may be necessary to suspend visiting on other wards if there is an increased risk of infection


Staying in touch while normal visiting arrangements are suspended

We understand how hard separation can be. As a result, we have introduced a number of measures to help and support families and patients at this time.

  • We ask families to designate one person to contact the ward and act as a liaison point. We will then contact that person as often as we can to give them an update. This family member can then share information and updates with other family members.

  • We are encouraging people to connect with loved ones using technology such as social media, phone calls, and video calls to stay in touch. If the person you want to speak to does not have access to their own phone or tablet, please contact the ward. Many of our hospital wards have iPads, and staff can help patients to connect video calls with their family members and friends.


Attending the emergency department

If you are not sure whether you need emergency care, call 111 and they'll be able to advise you. If it's a life threatening situation, call 999.

Please attend the emergency department alone, unless a carer is required and please wear a face covering.

As part of our coronavirus precautions, you will be greeted at the main desk by one of our nurses. You will be asked some basic screening questions and your temperature will be checked.

If this is all clear, you will be booked into the Emergency Department as normal.

If you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, you will be directed to our dedicated assessment clinic.

Remember that in some situations, the Minor Injuries Units (MIU)in the Cumberland Centre, Tavistock and South Hams Hospital might be able to help you.


Coming in for a planned admission (including day surgery)

Please download and read this leaflet with advice for patients coming to hospital.

If you are being admitted to hospital, we need you to take extra precautions to minimise the risk presented by COVID-19. If COVID-19 infection occurs when you have surgery or whilst in hospital, this could make your recovery more difficult, or increase your risk of serious illness, or death.

Follow comprehensive social-distancing and hand-hygiene measures for 10 days before admission (see government advice on social distancing on the website)

• Please attend alone if you can, unless a carer is required. This will help us reduce the number of people coming into the hospital. If you have any questions, please call the number on your appointment letter to discuss this.

• Please wear a face covering to your appointment and bring a plastic bag with you to put your face covering into, should you need to take it off as part of your examination or treatment.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Important information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

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

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 novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

You can find out more information about COVID-19 here:


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