What to expect when visiting our hospitals

We are beginning to restart some services and want to reassure you that our hospitals are safe environments. We are working hard to protect patients and staff.  

We are making changes to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, and you may notice that things look or run a little differently than before.

COVID-19 screening

Before attending the hospital, you will be asked if you or anyone in your household has had any symptoms relating to COVID-19. 

In particular, the questions will include: 

• Are you or is anybody in your household currently experiencing:

- A high temperature

- A new, continuous cough

- Loss of taste or smell

• Have you had contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19? 

Please be aware that you will be asked these questions when you arrive and throughout your stay. We will also take your temperature regularly, and you will be screened (swabs taken) on admission as routine.

Patients having planned surgical procedures will be notified of requirements for pre-screening, leading up to admission.

If your hospital stay is longer than seven days, we will screen you again and at any time, should you have symptoms, as above.

Social distancing measures 

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This helps to reduce the transmission of diseases and COVID-19. 

Social distancing practices have been introduced across the UHCW site and we have signs to help you follow these. Measures include spaced out chairs in clinics, Perspex screens in Outpatient areas, visual markings on floors and extra signs in busy areas including main entrances, corridors and lifts. 

The signs you can expect to see include: 

 

                                       

                 

Zones dependent on swab results and clinical needs

UHCW has created separate zone areas for patients depending on their swab results and clinical needs. This is to ensure the safety of all patients. Screening tests and welfare checks will help UHCW staff to maintain separate zones and ensure the needs of patients are met.

Using Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) 

During your stay you will notice UHCW staff wearing PPE whilst caring for you. The PPE may include masks, gloves and aprons and this is to protect everyone.

Wearing PPE when entering UHCW sites 

Please be advised that you are required to wear a mask / face covering at all times when in the hospital building(s), except when you are in a hospital bed. This applies to patients, (all) visitors and staff.

We also ask you not to wear gloves when coming into the hospital. The best way to stop germs from spreading is to clean your hands regularly and thoroughly. Alcohol gel is placed within dispensers on hospital entry and on ward and department entrance points.

During your stay you will notice UHCW staff wearing PPE whilst caring for you. The PPE may include masks, gloves and aprons and this is to protect everyone.

Disposing of PPE you bring to UHCW site

If you would like to dispose of your mask as you leave, please use any bin that has an orange bin bag in it. Additional bins have been placed by entrances and exits and by the restaurant in the main atrium.

Hand hygiene facilities at UHCW site 

Hand hygiene facilities are available for use by staff, patients and visitors throughout our site and we encourage everyone to use the alcohol hand rub dispensers and soap and water as required. 

We also offer hand wipes to patients before touching food items. Please ask for wipes if you feel you need them. For more information on what to expect when attending UHCW, read our patient information leaflet here.
 


The safety and wellbeing of our patients will always be our number one priority as a Trust and this is especially true during the current coronavirus pandemic. During these challenging times we are working hard to reopen services and continue to care for our patients safely. We are still here to help you.

Although people are asked to adhere to government restrictions, if you are already a patient of University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust or are unwell, you should continue to access the care that you need. If you are a patient with a long-term condition please do keep in touch with your GP, community and hospital services.

Please see our services section by clicking here where more information is available, including the best way to contact us, which may include by email or telephone.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY CONDITION?

COVID-19 has had a major effect on our services and we’re trying to keep you in the picture as best as we can. If you have any further concerns, please call the number on your appointment letter or speak to the department directly. Please speak to your GP if you are worried about changes in your condition or health in general, including how you are coping during these difficult times. The NHS has continued to provide mental health services during the pandemic including 24/7 helplines.

MY GP HAS REFERRED ME FOR TREATMENT BUT I’VE JUST RECEIVED A LETTER TELLING ME IT’S BEEN ‘PAUSED’ – WHY?

All hospitals, including University Hospital, Coventry, and the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby, were instructed by NHS England to cancel outpatient appointments and routine surgery in March 2020 so they were not overwhelmed by the virus. Many outpatients have been held by telephone or video calls.

We reconfigured parts of our hospitals, freeing up beds, changing wards and redeploying clinicians, nurses, admin and support staff to help as COVID-19 became our focus. We’re now adapting those plans again, and we aim to restore our services whilst also safely supporting patients who may have COVID-19.

WAS IT JUST SURGERY OR OUTPATIENT APPOINTMENTS THAT WERE PAUSED?

Since March 2020, we were able to continue to undertake life-saving surgery and cancer treatment, and emergencies whilst we paused all other operations, treatments and outpatient appointments.

WHAT ABOUT ME? I WAS ON THE WAITING LIST BEFORE THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK.

If you were on a waiting list before the COVID-19 outbreak, you will still be on our waiting list unless we have written to you to advise you differently. However, you will be waiting longer to be seen and we are really sorry about this.

Our clinicians are regularly reviewing our waiting lists and prioritising patients to be treated. Since the lockdown, GPs have continued to refer patients to us and they are also on our waiting lists. The Trust has now reopened booking for patients needing an outpatient appointment following GP referral (known as e-referrals), for the majority of outpatient services. From April 2021, we have also reopened the majority of theatres on our hospital sites, allowing us to make inroads into our waiting lists.

HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT?

Our clinical teams are going through our waiting lists very carefully and patients will be seen depending on the state of their health. In reality, that means those with the greatest need will be seen first. Lists are being reviewed regularly as we know some people’s conditions will deteriorate so, whereas they might not have been a priority to start, that could change as the weeks and months go by.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO SORT THIS?

Our clinical teams have been carefully reviewing each and every patient on a waiting list to determine which patients are able to come to hospitals, which can be delivered in other ways, i.e. digitally or in other venues and community settings or at the Hospital of St Cross, Rugby. As per government guidelines, we are following social distancing guidelines which means we are limited by the number of people who safely can be in our waiting areas, and some appointments / treatment is taking longer due to the need to wear PPE and follow infection control procedures.

For some services, that means we are not able to offer as many appointments / theatre slots as we were before the pandemic. We have also been working with the independent sector, particularly the BMI Meriden Hospital at University Hospital Coventry, to provide some services in a COVID-free environment as we continue to respond to the pandemic. Your appointment letter may ask you to attend the BMI Meriden as an alternative to one of our hospitals. As the number of COVID-19 positive patients is subsiding in our hospitals, and the vaccination programme is rolled out, our plan is to restore services in the coming months. In some cases, this means reinstating services in the same way we previously provided them. In others, we will use the COVID-19 experience to make ways of accessing them more flexible, including the use of technology, and where appropriate, providing them in the community.

HOW DO I STAY UP TO DATE WITH DEVELOPMENTS?

We’re trying to keep everyone informed and we really appreciate your patience and understanding. When we are able to offer you an appointment, either in person or virtually, we will write to you to confirm this. There’s a lot of administration work that is taking place as we restart services and we are aware that patients may receive duplicate letters from the hospital. Please bear with us as we try to ensure this doesn’t happen. We are sharing regular updates with GPs so they can pass on information to patients. We’ll also be keeping people informed of important changes and general updates through our Facebook pages, other social media channels and our website. We’re also asking the media to help us relay important changes.

Please speak to your clinical teams if you have specific queries and concerns about your condition. When it’s time for you to come for your appointment or procedure, we’ll get in touch with you. We’re here to help you, so we ask you to attend your appointment. Please be assured that our hospitals are safe. If you’ve got any concerns about coming to hospital, you can call the number on your appointment letter.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET SERVICES BACK TO NORMAL?

It’s impossible to give exact dates. The safety and wellbeing of our patients will always be our number one priority as a Trust and this is especially true during the current coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has had a major effect on our services and we’re trying to keep you in the picture as best we can. Whilst we still have to be ready to respond to the ongoing pandemic, our efforts have turned again to restoring services. We have already reopened the majority of theatres on our hospital sites (April 2021), and have reopened booking for outpatient services. The scale of the challenge is enormous, and we understand it will be difficult for patients who might be still waiting.

WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG?

COVID-19 has meant that NHS has had to change the way is delivers care. Our priority is to keep patients safe, and in line with government restrictions, we are limited by the number of people who can safely be on our sites. Enhanced cleaning of all our areas and the need to wear PPE and follow infection control procedures means that some appointment /treatment will take longer. For some services, that means we are not able to offer as many appointments / theatre slots as we were before the pandemic. Some of our clinical areas have been temporarily adapted to respond to the pandemic, and work is taking place to return these to their original use before we can safely restore services. Many staff were also redeployed to areas of most need, and therefore for some services, we are not able to offer as many appointments as before.

I’VE BEEN CONTACTED BY THE HOSPITAL, BUT MY APPOINTMENT IS NOW WITH A PHYSIOTHERAPIST AT MY GP PRACTICE AND NOT A HOSPITAL DOCTOR/SURGEON. WHY?

COVID-19 has meant that NHS, in some cases, has had to change the way is delivers care. In some cases, this means reinstating services in the same way we have previously provided them. In others it means using the COVID-19 experience to improve services or to make ways of accessing them more flexibly, including the use of technology for some of our appointments. Many of our teams have also been working differently, and We are also actively exploring how we deliver more hospital services, where appropriate, in community settings. These innovations will help us reduce the backlog and offer care in different ways where clinically appropriate.