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.

The safety of our patients and staff remains our top priority. This means face masks must still be worn by patients, visitors and staff in our hospitals. In line with national guidance we will continue to follow all necessary infection prevention and control regulations including wearing masks and social distancing. It is vital we continue to have these safeguards in place to help keep you, our vulnerable patients and our staff safe.

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

Waiting times

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to longer waiting times for patients across the NHS. We are working hard to see patients as quickly as possible, however, this does mean most people will experience a longer wait than usual.

If your GP has referred you to our services, please rest assured that we have received this and you are on our waiting list. We will contact you once we have arranged your appointment, you do not need to contact us.

Our Appointments Centre is currently experiencing a high volume of calls. If you are waiting for an appointment after needing to rebook, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

You can also change your appointment online or by replying to the text you receive seven days before your appointment if you can no longer make it.

Planned surgeries

We are focusing on treating patients who are most clinically urgent but we have now started routine surgeries at both King George and Queen’s hospitals.

We are also working with local independent sector providers to organise treatment at non-Trust sites for some of our long-waiting patients.

Maternity services

Visiting our Maternity department

The following visitor arrangements apply

  • One visitor (the birthing partner) can visit our antenatal, postnatal and Coral wards between 1pm and 8pm and can stay for as long as they wish during this time. Children are not allowed to visit.
  • If a child is born outside of these visiting hours, the birthing partner will be able to remain on the labour ward.
  • 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.
  • Birthing partners can attend all maternity clinics.
  • Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is open 24/7 for both parents, who can be together at the cot side. Visitors must take a Lateral Flow Test beforehand and confirm a negative test on arrival.
  • If a woman attends in labour and requests to go to triage, she will be allowed one accompanying person to join her.

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

Maternity scans

As of Monday 12 April, partners are able to attend all maternity scans.

While we continue to keep everyone safe, we’ve also secured additional waiting space for partners (or one other adult if a woman does not have a partner, or they are unable to attend with her). They will be asked to wait outside the department until their turn, when they will be able to accompany their loved one to their appointment.

Children are not allowed into scan appointments.

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.

King George and Queen’s hospitals children’s Emergency Departments both open 24/7

The children’s Emergency Departments at both King George and Queen’s hospitals are open 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.

If your child has an urgent, but not life-threatening, health problem and you’re unsure whether you need to visit one of our Emergency Departments, please contact 111 first. If it’s a life-threatening emergency, phone 999.

Departamentele de urgență pentru copii din spitalele King George și Queen’s deschid ambele 24/7

کنگ جارج اور کوئین کے اسپتالوں میں بچوں کے ایمرجنسی ڈیپارٹمنٹ دونوں 24/7 کھلی رہتے ہیں

Outpatient appointments

We have restarted some of our routine face-to-face outpatient appointments at King George and Queen’s hospitals.

We will also continue to hold a number of appointments 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. We’ve also completed more than 8,600 video appointments since Attend Anywhere was introduced.

Patients will be advised by our Appointments team whether their appointment will take place face-to-face or virtually. 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 carrying out cancer, urgent and routine diagnostic services at both King George and Queen’s hospitals.

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. The majority of cancer surgeries and most cancer diagnostics, including endoscopies, are taking place at King George and Queen’s hospitals.

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