3 April 2020
Page last updated on Wednesday 2 September at 14:13

Visiting restrictions for inpatients and outpatients

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. 

You must attend your outpatient appointment alone, unless in exceptional circumstances - such as our lung cancer patients - and when you have agreed this in advance with your specialist nurses or the bookings team. This is to protect our patients, many of whom are in high-risk groups. See more below. 


Outpatient appointments

You must attend your outpatient appointment alone*, unless in exceptional circumstances and when you have agreed this in advance with the outpatient team. This is to protect our patients, many of whom are in high-risk groups. 

Outpatient services are returning but this needs to be done in a controlled and safe way. About a third of these are taking place in person at the hospital, but we will continue to maintain telephone and virtual clinics where this has proved effective and the majority of services are still happening in this way.

(*A family member or friend is, of course, welcome to drop you off at our main entrance, but they will not be allowed inside the hospital.)

Click to access a video consultation

If you have not heard from the relevant team about your appointment, then yours is still due to take place at the hospital. 

If you are attending an outpatient appointment at the hospital, please come on your own. If there are exceptional circumstances that mean you need to bring someone with you, please discuss this with a member of our team before you travel to the hospital. Please bring your own food and drink so you can attend your appointment in our outpatients area without needing to visit our restaurant. 

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

Cystic fibrosis, lung defence and immunology patients 
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, lung defence and immunology 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.

Our transplant services have now been restored and the number of cardiothoracic transplants taking place has returned to normal levels. 

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.

Thoracic oncology patients
All patients attending clinic may bring one person with them to their appointment. 

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.


Face coverings and social distancing

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, it has been policy that all patients and visitors are 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. 

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; and extra wall-mounted hand sanitisers installed throughout the hospital. 


Non-emergency (elective) surgery and procedures

We suspended all non-urgent elective operations from Friday 20 March for at least three months. During this time our waiting lists grew, but the number of operations being performed at Royal Papworth Hospital has returned to the levels we had before the coronavirus pandemic back in March, which is ahead of our restoration plan. 

Transplant surgery never stopped during this time but did significantly reduce in number during April and May. In June, though, we performed more transplants than we did in February. 

We also maintained a steady level of thoracic surgery throughout these past few months - especially for emergency cancer treatment - but full lists have now returned with the number of operations peformed in July 2020 similar to January 2020. 

Our Cath Labs are nearing 80% of their normal capacity and this too is exceeding our restoration plan. 

Our services within thoracic/respiratory medicine and our Respiratory Support and Sleep Centre are now at 60% of the levels before the pandemic as we continue to treat more patients each week. 

There will undoubtedly be a backlog for non-emergency treatment. 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). 

Thank you to all of you for your patience while our staff work hard to safely and steadily restore our services.


What is happening with patients whose elective procedures have been cancelled? 

Although we had to cancel all elective, non-emergency activity in order to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have an important duty to protect patients who are on our waiting lists. We have reviewed all patients who have been on our waiting list for 30 weeks or more. If, following this review, we feel they would be adversely impacted by waiting longer, they will be prioritised for treatment. This priority is being assess by clinical need and not necessarily the length of time an individual has been waiting. 

All other patients will be given guidance about managing their condition and a point of contact within the hospital so they know who to speak to if they have any questions or concerns.

We will review our waiting lists on a regular basis to assess whether any further patients need to come into the hospital for urgent treatment. 

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.  

From Saturday 1 August

From Saturday 1 August, shielding advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable was paused. This means that you can visit shops and places of worship, but you should continue to maintain rigorous social distancing. You may also return to work if your employer is deemed COVID-secure.

Shielding and other advice to the clinically extremely vulnerable has been and remains advisory. You can continue with previous advice if you feel more comfortable, and the advice remains to stay at home where possible.

Shielding may be re-introduced at any point in areas under local lockdowns or with higher infection rates. 

Why is the guidance changing? 

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. 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

If you have any questions then please get in touch with your clinical team.

External link to AccessAble a disabled Accessibility Guide for Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust providing accessible disability and wheelchair friendly information.

Where are we based?

Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Papworth Road
Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Telephone:  01223 638000

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