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.

We are constantly monitoring the situation and are bringing back our services where it is safe to do so. This may mean you will be treated at a different hospital, or different location within our hospitals, than before the pandemic.

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 social 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.

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.

Maternity services

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

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 from 16 November

Overnight, during winter, we will be temporarily closing the children’s Emergency Department at King George Hospital because there will be no specialist children’s doctors on duty at the hospital at night.

This came into effect on Monday 16 November, during the hours of 9pm to 9am.

Once we close overnight, please do not bring your child to the Emergency Department at King George Hospital between 9pm and 9am as there will be no specialist children’s doctors on duty.  

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

We are continuing to hold telephone and video clinics where appropriate so you do not need to come into our hospital unless it is absolutely necessary. We are also holding some face to face appointments for our most clinically urgent patients.

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.

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 have restarted our endoscopy service at both hospitals. We are following new decontamination processes, and are working together with our partners across north east London so that we can maximise our capacity.   

Gynaecology

Our planned gynaecology procedures – hysteroscopies and colposcopies – are now delivered at King George Hospital. Emergency gynaecology, complex planned inpatient procedures and general outpatient appointments take place at Queen’s Hospital. 

Sexual Health

This will remain at Barking Hospital until the new year.

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.

Stroke rehabilitation

Our stroke rehabilitation services, which we run jointly with the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), have restarted at King George Hospital. 

Cancer services

We have made significant changes to our cancer services and will continue to keep services under review.

Chemotherapy and surgery

During the peak of the pandemic, most chemotherapy treatments took place in private hospitals. The majority of treatments are now taking place in our Trust again.  We are accepting new referrals from GPs and have put appropriate diagnostics in place. 

We are also working very closely with partner NHS organisations and the independent sector to review the best approach for delivering surgical treatments for our patients. While non-urgent surgeries are still postponed, we are working together to carry out essential surgeries based on clinical need. This will be in line with national and local guidance and may not be done in our own hospitals.

Cancer won't wait for Covid-19

Keeping cancer patients safe during Covid-19