COVID-19 updates

Patient information leaflet


Information for patients attending a hospital appointment or requiring a stay in hospital

Please download and read this leaflet with advice for patients coming to hospital. Help us help you stay safe at this time.




Visiting arrangements - Changes to visiting

Changes from Friday, 26 June 2020:

Visiting to our wards is still suspended with the exception of visiting for patients at the end of life and for parents and carers in women’s and children’s areas. We are also introducing these changes:

  • One nominated individual per patient will be allocated a 2-hour time slot to see women who have given birth in our postnatal ward (this is in addition to women in labour having a support partner with them)
  • For women being induced, when social distancing allows, a nominated individual will be able to stay with them during the daytime
  • A nominated individual is now able to attend the anomaly scan (18-20 weeks gestation) with expectant mothers
  • In paediatrics and on our neonatal unit, both parents/guardians will be permitted to visit their child together, social distancing permitted.. Social distancing will be monitored by the ward staff. Unfortunately only one parent will be allowed into children's theatres, due to lack of space, and sadly siblings are not able to visit at this time.
  • Patients in the final days of life will be able to receive more than one visitor from within their immediate network within a 24 hour period.
  • Matrons will be permitted to take a more pragmatic approach to visiting by extending visiting under the exceptional circumstances principles. Until now this has been restricted to patients at the end of life (in their last seven days). This can now be extended to other exceptional circumstances, for example, where a patient suffers sudden trauma or a patient has mental health needs or dementia and will be comforted and calmed by a family member. Matrons will be allowed to use their discretion in these cases and will be given additional support and guidance in the coming days.
  • Outpatients – where breaking bad news is a possibility, permission is given for them to be accompanied by a family member or friend to face-to-face appointments. Otherwise, please attend alone if you can, to help us reduce the number of people coming into the hospital. If you have a carer or need someone to come with you, please call the number on your appointment letter to discuss this


Staying in touch while normal visiting arrangements are suspended

We have not undertaken restricting visitors lightly, and we appreciate that this may cause distress to both patients and their loved ones. 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.

  • To try to connect our patients with their family and friends, we have introduced a “Send your loved one a message” scheme, where you can send a message and a photo. We know how much it will mean to our patients to brighten up their days with messages from their friends and family.
  • 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.

We understand that because friends and family members are not coming to the hospital, our phone lines are busier than usual.  To make it easier to get through to staff, we appreciate it if you can designate one family member to contact the ward and act as a liaison point. This person can then share information and updates with other family members. Thank you.


Dropping off patient property during suspended visiting


If you are dropping off property for an inpatient, there is a new arrangement in place to help manage footfall to the wards.

Instead of taking it direct to the ward, please drop any bags or items to the Parking Desk between 10:00 and 16:00 each day.

The Parking Desk is located immediately on your left as you enter the main entrance of Derriford Hospital.

The team will place items into a secure locker to keep them safe until they are collected by a member of staff from the ward, who will deliver them to the patient.

Please ensure that any items that you bring are inside a bag which is clearly labelled with the patient’s full name and ward. As usual, please try to avoid bringing valuables or large sums of money into hospital.

Attending the emergency department

Taking temperatureAs 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 symptoms, you will be given a mask and booked in before being directed to our dedicated assessment clinic.

Derriford's Minor Injury Department has moved to Nuffield. You can read more information here.


Donating goods or services to COVID-19 response

Whilst we are extremely grateful for the generosity the local community has shown, we also have a responsibility to ensure we maintain staff, patient and site safety and encourage people to abide by the new local and national rules;  particularly around social distancing, non-essential  movement and heightened hand hygiene, all aimed at curbing and slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

As a result, we are limiting the number of generous donations we can accept. Please read our notice about donations here.

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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