3 April 2020
Page last updated on Friday 18 June 2021 at 10:18

Visiting policy


We understand that receiving visits from relatives or friends can be an important part of a patient’s rehabilitation. However, we still need to limit the number of people in our hospital to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable patients and staff.

We are currently operating under visiting policy 'Level 2: Limited Visiting'. We are encouraging relatives and friends to keep in touch with patients via video calls and phone calls wherever possible, but for patients who are staying in our hospital for more than 48 hours we will allow a limited number of in-person visits during their stay. 

In-person visits should be booked via our online booking tool.

Please see 'wards and visiting times' for more information and contact details. 


You should attend your outpatient appointment on your own, unless there are exceptional circumstances that mean you need to bring someone with you. This includes patients who need a carer to accompany them or those with special requirements. Children should also not be brought to our site, again except in exceptional circumstances. Please discuss any of thise with a member of our team before travelling to the hospital. More outpatient guidance for different patient groups is available below. 

Thank you for your understanding - it is essential we continue to limit footfall through our hospital to allow for social distancing to protect our staff and vulnerable patients. 

Outpatient appointments

All outpatient appointments have been reviewed and any non-urgent appointments have been cancelled or moved to virtual consultations - either via telephone or video - as appropriate. 

Access a video consultation.

If you are invited to attend an appointment at the hospital, please rest assured we will keep you safe and you should still come. If you have not heard from the relevant team about your appointment, then yours is still due to take place at the hospital. 

We have introduced a screening tool using SMS text messages that will help us identify whether patients have COVID-19 symptoms before they attend hospital appointments. You may receive a text message from +447860039092 before your appointment, asking you if you have any symptoms of COVID-19. Please follow the instructions in the text message to let us know. If you do have symptoms, we will get in touch with you to re-arrange your appointment. 

We hope this 'virtual visit' below helps to reassure you ahead of your visit.


Further outpatient information and guidance for patients:
Adult congenital heart disease (ACHD)

We are continuing to operate a reduced number of face–to-face clinic appointments and will, where it is appropriate, offer telephone appointments as an alternative for patients who require medical advice. 

If you have any further enquires after reading the government guidelines, in order to keep telephone calls to a minimum, please email our ACHD nurses

Further COVID-19 information for ACHD patients is available here.

Cystic fibrosis, lung defence and immunology

We are reducing our usual telephone and video clinics in order to respond to the pandemic. Please do not attend the hospital for a normal appointment unless you have been invited to do so. We continue to bring people in as inpatients when hospital care/ IV treatment is required.

Further COVID-19 information for cystic fibrosis, lung defence and immunology patients is available here.

Interstitial lung disease (ILD)

To reduce the infection risk to our patients, the majority of day ward and outpatient clinic appointments will be by telephone for the foreseeable future. We are bringing a small number of urgent patients into the hospital for review. If you have a telephone appointment please wait by your telephone and we will contact you on the day around the time that you are due to see us. Please do not just turn up to the hospital as you will not be able to be seen. 

Further COVID-19 information for ILD patients is available here.


Homecare services are continuing to operate. Patients should carry on with their usual delivery schedules unless otherwise directed. You can arrange for a relative, friend or community volunteer to collect your medicine. Some cystic fibrosis patients may see a change to delivery schedules in the future for specialist medications. 

Further COVID-19 information for outpatient prescriptions, including Homecare, is available here.

Pulmonary hypertension

To reduce the infection risk to our patients, the majority of day ward and outpatient clinic appointments will be by telephone for the foreseeable future. Patients requiring urgent diagnostics will be asked to attend the hospital. If you have a telephone appointment please wait by your telephone and we will contact you on the day around the time that you are due to see us. Please do not arrive at the hospital as you will not be able to be seen. We are also having to delay some appointments in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need to contact the pulmonary hypertension team, call 01223 638826.

Further information can be found on the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK) website.

Respiratory Support and Sleep Centre

As part of our response to COVID-19, some of our outpatient activity is being carried out by telephone in order to reduce the risk to our patients.

The team continue to review and prioritise new referrals.

If we have had to delay your appointment or admission, we are sorry for this inconvenience and will be in touch with you once we are able to start booking routine activity again.

The CPAP support line continues to operate as normal on 01223 638526.

Thoracic oncology

All patients attending our thoracic oncology clinic may bring one person with them to their appointment. Our lung cancer pathway has remained open, including appointments, diagnostic services and surgery. 


There are restrictions on the number of outpatients that we can bring into Royal Papworth Hospital in order to keep all patients within the hospital safe.  

We will contact you before your next appointment and let you know whether we will see you in person or whether we will convert your appointment to a virtual appointment. 

If you are uncertain whether you should attend your appointment, please contact the transplant unit on 01223 638007.

We are still performing transplants, prioritising our most unwell patients. 

Further COVID-19 information for heart transplant and lung transplant patients is available here.

Face masks, social distancing and safety measures

Please be reassured that we have very high standards of infection control in the hospital. If you need to come to the hospital for treatment, you can be confident you will be cared for safely. 

All patients and visitors are asked to wear surgical masks whilst they are in the hospital. These can be obtained from stations at our entrances.

If you come into the hospital for treatment, you will notice a number of measures that we have introduced to ensure the safety of staff and patients, including: red markings and stickers on the floor to indicate a two-metre distance; perspex screens at receiption desks; markings in our lift to ensure social distancing; one-way systems; and extra wall-mounted hand sanitisers installed throughout the hospital. 

Take a 360 degree tour of our hospital

Elective surgery and procedures

Across the NHS we have had to focus on our COVID-19 response and other patients who are in most urgent need of treatment. People whose care is deemed 'urgent' have been prioritised, however we are regularly reviewing patients on our waiting lists and if we feel you would be adversely impacted by waiting longer, you will be booked in. This priority is being assess by clinical need and not necessarily the length of time an individual has been waiting. 

We have an important duty to protect patients who are on our waiting lists and fully understand that if you are waiting for treatment you might be disappointed and worried and for that we are sorry. If you are on our waiting list and begin to feel unwell at any point, please contact your GP (or call 999 in an emergency). 

Emergency surgery and procedures

Our emergency pathways have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes: heart transplants which have been listed as 'urgent'; heart attack treatment including the insertion of coronary stents; lung cancer surgery because early treatment is vital to improve outcomes; and other emergency surgery such as aortic dissection.

Protecting people more at risk from COVID-19

Protecting people who are more at risk from COVID-19 is important. Many of our patients - including those with severe respiratory conditions and people on immunosupression drugs - are considered 'clinically extremely vulnerable'.

Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone. The Government is also advising clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves, and follow these practical steps to minimise risk of exposure to the virus.

COVID-19 vaccine

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the COVID-19 vaccination. 

You do not need to wait to be contacted if you're eligible and can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online. You may also be invited to book your vaccination by text or letter

The vaccine is currently being given to:

  • people aged 21 and over
  • people who will turn 21 before 1 July 2021
  • people at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • people with a learning disability
  • people are the main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19

If you are not eligible yet, it's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. 

Information on the vaccine is available on the nhs.uk website.

Spotting a scam

The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS. 

The NHS will never ask for:

  • your bank account or card details
  • your pin or banking password
  • copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.