Our services during Covid-19

Since the start of the pandemic we have made many changes to our services to help keep our patients and staff safe, including pausing or limiting certain services, to focus our resources appropriately.

This is because we are still in a national emergency and are having to respond flexibly and rapidly to an ever-changing situation. It is also to ensure we follow strict national infection prevention and control guidelines including the need to socially distance.

We will continue to keep you informed however please be aware we are not always able to engage around service changes as we would in normal circumstances.

We are constantly monitoring the situation and any changes we do make are in place to help us mange the pandemic. They are always in line with national guidance and are to keep you, your loved ones and our staff safe.

You can find out more in our 'keeping you safe in our hospitals' page.


Planned surgeries

We have now started to carry out some of our higher priority planned surgeries (as of 22 February 2021).

Maternity services

Our birthing unit has now reopened.

The following visitor arrangements apply

  • One visitor (the birthing partner) will be able to visit our antenatal, postnatal and Coral wards, for a two-hour slot between 1pm and 5.30pm. The ward will arrange your visiting time with you.
  • If you have had an elective caesarean your birthing partner can stay with you while you are in our High Dependency Unit or Recovery area.
  • Visiting hours have been extended on our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). One parent at a time can attend between 10am and 10pm.

If you have any questions about your pregnancy or our visiting policy please speak to your midwife.

Maternity scans

Partners are able to attend 20-week anomaly scans and any repeat 20-week scans.

However due to the high volume of women and very limited space in our hospitals, particularly in our waiting areas, we are not yet able to offer this for women coming in for their 12-week scans, as we would not be able to comply with stringent infection prevention and control guidance.

This will remain under review and we will continue to look for ways to further support women and their partners.

Antenatal services at King George Hospital

Our antenatal service at King George Hospital is now located on the ground floor while we manage the pandemic. Download the map showing the new antenatal entrance: 

King George Hospital external map [pdf] 156KB

We are currently looking at how we can safely extend our visiting policy further, in light of the new guidance; please be aware it is also stipulated that any changes must be able to be done in a safe way, in line with national infection prevention and control guidelines.  

Services for children and young people (Paediatrics)

We want to reassure you that despite Covid-19 we are still providing the same, safe care that we’ve always done for our children and young people. 

It can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured. 

If you need advice, and your child has an urgent, but not life-threatening, health problem please contact 111 first. This can be done either online or by phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and the service is free to use (including from all mobiles).

If it’s a life-threatening emergency, phone 999. 

We had to close our children’s inpatient ward at King George Hospital, earlier this year, to look after very sick Covid-19 patients. It will remain closed this winter and all children who need to stay in hospital will continue to be admitted to our children’s ward at Queen’s Hospital. 

If your child is sick and is brought to King George Hospital, they will be seen by a team there, and, if they need further assessment or to be admitted they will be transferred to Queen’s Hospital, either by their family members or carers if they are well enough, or by ambulance if this is necessary.

We have also opened a Children and Young People’s Assessment Unit at Queen’s Hospital. This unit is designed to help keep children from being admitted unless absolutely necessary.

Information from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have provided some helpful advice on what to do when your child is unwell. Please visit their website to download their poster.

Temporary overnight closure of King George children’s Emergency Department

The children’s Emergency Department at King George Hospital is temporarily closed (as of 16 November) from 9pm to 9am, during winter.

This is because there are no specialist children’s doctors on duty at the hospital at night.

Please do not bring your child to the Emergency Department at King George Hospital between 9pm and 9am. 

When you contact 111, they will tell you to bring your child to Queen’s Hospital if they need to be seen by one of our emergency doctors.

Închiderea temporară a serviciului de urgență pentru copii din Spitalul King George

کنگ جارج اسپتال چلڈرن ایمرجنسی ڈیپارٹمنٹ عارضی طور پر بند

Outpatient appointments

As of 21 December, we have postponed all non-urgent outpatient appointments. Wherever possible we will hold these virtually as we did in the last wave – during that time we converted thousands of appointments to phone clinics for which many of our patients were grateful as it meant they did not need to come into hospitals.

Affected patients are being contacted directly by our Appointments team. We are constantly monitoring and reviewing the situation.

Blood tests

If you are under our care, you can have your blood test in our hospitals. We also see children under 12; parents and carers can book the appointment directly with the Children’s Outpatients team.

The blood test department has moved from the main atrium to outpatients teams 3 and 4. Contact details remain the same.

Haematology and oncology patients have a dedicated (Covid protected) service, five days a week, where those in greatest need are prioritised and seen at the start of each day.

Patients referred by their GP need to have their blood test at a community clinic. This includes children aged 12 and over and is to ensure we do not bring people into hospital unnecessarily. Please note, this means we are unable to help with any issues with bookings. 

Find out more information on blood tests in Barking, Havering and Redbridge boroughs including clinic locations, how to book a test, and who to contact if you are having any issues with your appointment.

Endoscopy services

We are continuing to carry out cancer and urgent diagnostic endoscopies at King George Hospital.

We are now also restarting endoscopy services at Queen’s Hospital, so that we can start to undertake some of our routine diagnostics.

Sexual Health

This continues to remain at Barking Community Hospital.

Emergency care

Same Day Emergency Care

We have established a ‘Same Day Emergency Care’ (SDEC) for patients who may need to be admitted. They are moved to the unit directly from our Emergency Department and access to key investigations and specialist opinions will help to keep them out of hospital where possible. SDEC is open between 8am and 10pm, seven days a week.

Frailty Unit 

Our frailty unit at King George Hospital is open, with the specific aim of caring for our frail and elderly patients and getting them home on the same day wherever possible. The team on the unit have links with our partners in the community, so we can ensure these patients only stay in hospital when absolutely necessary, and can return home without delay when they’ve recovered.

Pre-operative Assessment

The pre-operative assessment service has currently moved to Tulip ward at Goodmayes Hospital.

Stroke rehabilitation

Stroke rehabilitation services are currently located in Meadow Court; this is on the Goodmayes Hospital site next to King George Hospital.

Cancer services

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments continue at Queen’s Hospital; we are also using Hartswood Spire for chemotherapy. The majority of cancer surgery has been moved to the independent sector, with a very small number of procedures taking place at Queen’s. Endoscopies will take place at King George Hospital.