3 April 2020
Page last updated on Friday 3 July at 15:26

Visiting restrictions

Coronavirus: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, visiting remains suspended until further notice.

The only exceptional circumstance where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit is:

• The patient you wish to visit is receiving end-of-life care.

Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements. 

Critical care
If you have a relative being cared for in our critical care department at the moment, our critical care family liaison team will call you or the nominated next of kin once a day to give you an update on how they are doing. We would be grateful if you could wait for this call rather than calling at other times or at night when it will be more difficult for a staff member to take a call.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this challenging time while we make these difficult decisions. 


Face coverings

People infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it. 

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to keep visitors, patients, and staff safe. 

From Monday 15 June, all patients and visitors will be asked to wear face coverings (eg scarves or homemade masks) whilst they are in the hospital. Shielding or vulnerable patients will wear surgical masks which can be obtained from stations at our entrances.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose. 


Outpatient appointments

The vast majority of our outpatient appointments are now happening remotely via telephone or have been postponed. If you have not heard from the relevant team about your appointment, then yours is still due to take place at the hospital. 

Cystic fibrosis and lung defence
All cystic fibrosis and lung defence clinics at Royal Papworth Hospital had previously been deferred from 25 March. However, we have started to re-introduce telephone and video clinics as we learn how best to deliver care whilst living with COVID-19. Please do not attend the hospital for a normal appointment unless you have been invited to. 

Further coronavirus information for cystic fibrosis and lung defence patients is available here. 

Transplant patients
If you are a post-transplant patient at Royal Papworth Hospital and due to have an outpatient appointment in the next few weeks, you will be contacted personally by a member of the transplant nursing or admin team. Please do not just turn up to the hospital. 

Further coronavirus information for heart transplant and lung transplant patients is available here.

Interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients
To reduce the infection risk to our patients, all day ward and outpatient clinic appointments will be by telephone for the forseeable future. If you have an appointment please wait by your telephone and we will contact you on the day around the time that you were due to see us. Please do not just turn up to the hospital as you will not be able to be seen.

Further coronavirus information for ILD patients is available here.

Collecting medicines falls under the government's list of essential activities. You can also arrange for a relative, friend or community volunteer to collect your medicine. 

Homecare services are continuing to operate. Patients should carry on with their usual delivery schedules unless otherwise directed. Some cystic fibrosis patients may see a change to delivery schedules in the future for specialist medications.

Further coronavirus information for outpatient prescriptions, including Homecare, is available here.


Non-emergency surgery and non-emergency outpatient treatment

We suspended all non-urgent elective operations and non-urgent outpatient treatment from Friday 20 March for at least three months.

However, now that we appear to have past the peak of the COVID-19, we have drawn up plans that allow us to safely carry out a small number of procedures. We are reviewing our waiting lists on a regular basis and patients identified as being in the most urgent need of surgery will be given priority. 

We are also carrying out a small amount of elective cardiology activity for the most urgent patients. Our respiratory medicine team is now beginning to see some elective patients, including those referred for CPAP (continous positive airway pressure) treatment. 

Over the next few weeks, we plan to gradually increase the amount of elective activity we carry out. It is important that we do this safely and ensure we have the necessary capacity in our critical care department to care for patients recovering after their procedure, alongside our ongoing committment to support hospitals across the East of England and parts of north London by taking the most critically ill COVID-19 patients. 

Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatment will be carrying on as normal and these services have remained operational during the pandemic. Transplant surgery did reduce during April and May but our numbers are returning to normal and, in fact, we performed more transplants in June than we did in February.  

We fully understand that people waiting for treatment will be disappointed and possibly 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).


Vulnerable patients

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, many of our patients who are especially vulnerable to the virus have been following advice to 'shield' at home. The UK Government has now set out a roadmap for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the future of the shielding programme.  

For now, the guidance remains the same – stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone – but the guidance will change on 6 July and again on 1 August, based on clinical evidence.

Shielding and other advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable has been and remains advisory. 

What are the changes? 

Recently, the UK Government advised that you can spend time outdoors, if you wish, with your own household, or if you live alone with another household. Following this, and alongside current scientific and medical advice the UK Government is planning to relax shielding guidance in stages.  

From 6 July, the guidance will change so you can meet in groups of up to six people from outside your household – outdoors with social distancing. For example, you might want to enjoy a summer BBQ outside at a friend’s house, but remember it is still important to maintain social distancing and you should not share items such as cups and plates. If you live alone (or are a lone adult with dependent children under 18), you will be able to form a support bubble with another household. 

From 1 August, you will no longer need to shield, and the advice will be that you can visit shops and places of worship, but you should continue maintaining rigorous social distancing.

Why is the guidance changing now?

The roadmap has been developed in line with the latest scientific and medical advice and with the safety and welfare of those who are shielding in mind. Current statistics show that the rate of catching coronavirus in the community continues to decrease. On average less than 1 in 1,700 in our communities are estimated to have the virus, down from 1 in 500 four weeks ago.  

Unless advised otherwise by your clinician, you are still in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category and should continue to follow the advice for that category, which can be found here

Where are we based?

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Papworth Road
Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Telephone:  01223 638000

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