Visiting the hospital for a procedure
If you are coming in to one of our hospitals for treatment, you may have a few questions about your stay. Our medical staff will always be happy to help you but this section also aims to answer some of your questions. This covers everything from how to find our hospitals and what to do when you get here, to what we are doing to keep you safe during your visit.
What we are doing to keep you safe during your visit
We have a range of measures at our hospitals to prevent the spread of infection and keep you safe. For example, we are:
- Following national guidance for infection prevention
- Training our staff and volunteers in how to limit the spread of infection
- Asking some people coming in for surgery or a procedure to self-isolate and to have a COVID-19 test
- Taking extra care cleaning surfaces that people touch
We continue to remind patients not to come to our sites if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. This is to prevent the spread of the virus to other patients and our staff.
We ask that you:
- wear a surgical mask if you have respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing or a sore throat
- use the hand gel provided as soon as you enter the hospital, a ward or unit, and frequently thereafter
- follow other personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance as directed by staff during your visit, who will also guide you on how to remove and dispose of the PPE appropriately
- follow any additional measures that might be requested by our staff, such as social distancing
- follow NHS guidance on how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus.
There are areas of our hospitals where we might have extra measures in place to keep vulnerable patients safe. This might include physical distancing. Please follow the guidance in these areas.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) test
Before your procedure, you may need to have a COVID-19 test. If this is the case, we will contact you and arrange the test for you.
If your test result is positive, your surgery or procedure is likely to be rescheduled. We will contact you to let you know if this is the case.
We may ask you to self-isolate before coming to the hospital for your procedure. We will contact you to let you know if you need to do this, and for how long.
Call us first
As a specialist centre for heart and lung disease, we accept patients from all over the UK. This means that sometimes, we get emergency patients who must take priority, so occasionally we have to cancel or delay planned admissions. We do, however, try to keep this to a minimum.
To make sure we have a bed for you, please phone the ward the day before you are due to come in - you’ll find the name of your ward on your admission letter. If you are due to be admitted on a Sunday or Monday, please call the ward on the Friday beforehand.
If you are disabled or have special needs, please let us know, or contact the patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so we can make any necessary arrangements for when you come to hospital.
What to bring with you
1. Registration form and admission letter
Please bring your completed registration form and admission letter with you.
2. Medicines and prescription
Please bring your current prescription, and all the medicines you are taking, with you - preferably in their original containers. These should include any over-the-counter, non-prescription medicines you may have bought. This way, we can check that you are taking the right medicines and doses at the right times.
Our pharmacy department will make sure that you have at least 14 days' supply of each medicine. They will also try to make sure you have a 'patient pack' of medication that includes a patient information leaflet for you to read. If you don't get a patient information leaflet in your pack, please ask your ward pharmacists.
Contact your GP within the first two weeks of being back at home to arrange for more medicines if you need them.
- nightwear and a dressing gown
- comfortable slippers with good grip and support for your foot and ankle - they should cover your heel, i.e. please avoid mule-type slippers because they can cause you to slide or trip up
- comfortable day clothing
We do not have laundry facilities for your personal clothing but we can provide plastic bags for your used laundry.
- toothbrush and toothpaste
- hairbrush and comb
- bottle of liquid soap (please do not bring bars of soap and soap dishes because these can increase the risk of infection) and shampoo
5. Other items you may need
- mobility (walking) aids you use
- books, magazines, games or other items to help pass the time
- a small amount of money (to buy items from the hospital shop as needed)
- sanitary products
Please do not bring:
- towels and flannels (we provide those)
- jewelry and other valuables
- large sums of money
If you really can’t avoid bringing valuable items with you, please hand them to a nurse who will lock them away for safekeeping. You will get a receipt showing which items we have stored, so please keep it safe. You will need to give the receipt back to us when you come to collect your belongings.
Before coming into hospital:
- avoid shaving your operation site because this may increase the risk of infection. If this needs to be done for an operation, your nurse will help you to do this using special clippers
- have a shower and wash your hair the night before your surgery or procedure
- contact the hospital if you are suffering, or have suffered, from sickness or diarrhoea within the past 48-hours
How to get to hospital
Royal Brompton Hospital has three main buildings, so your ward could be on:
- Sydney wing – the main hospital entrance on Sydney street
- Chelsea wing – the entrance on Dovehouse Street which can also be reached via a bridge from Sydney wing, but is not wheelchair friendly
- Fulham wing – the entrance is on Fulham road, next to the Royal Marsden Hospital
Non-emergency hospital transport for patients
If you have a medical need and cannot get to and from our hospitals by other means of transport, we can arrange hospital transport for you. Find out more
When you get to Royal Brompton or Harefield Hospital, please go to the ward named in your admission letter. If you are unsure, go to the main hospital reception in Sydney Street or Harefield.
Your ID (identity) wristband
You will be given a wristband to wear which will have your name, date of birth, hospital number and gender. This allows staff to quickly identify you. Please check the details and let us know if anything is wrong.
When you receive any kind of treatment or investigation, such as getting medicines, giving blood samples, or having an operation performed, we will check your wristband. We’ll also confirm your details with you so we can make sure that you are getting the right treatment at the right time.
All our wards accommodate both male and female patients but have areas – bays, bathroom and toilet facilities – which are single sex.
Please note that in intensive care and high-dependency areas, where we provide specialist nursing and medical care, patients require constant monitoring. This means that in these areas, male and female patients may, on occasion, be accommodated together. All efforts are made to maintain privacy and dignity at all times.
Please speak to a member of staff if you have any questions or concerns about privacy during your stay.
Food is an important part of your recovery, so we work hard to meet your individual dietary needs. If you have special dietary needs as a result of your condition or treatment, our dietitians can organise meals for you. We have a 'red tray' system in place: this means that if you have a red meal tray, staff know that you are a patient who needs extra nutritional support at mealtimes.
Generally, mealtimes are:
- breakfast – 8am to 9am
- mid-morning snack and drink – 10:30am to 11:15am
- lunch – 12pm to 1:15pm
- afternoon tea – 2:30pm to 3:30pm
- dinner – 6pm - 7:15pm.
There is always a choice of food and you can select your portion size. We can also provide suitable meals for a variety of cultures, religions, tastes and needs on request. These include: Kosher, Halal, Asian and vegetarian meals. Make your selection by ticking the relevant boxes on the menu. If you need any help, please ask.
If you’re having a test or procedure during one of your mealtimes, don’t worry; the nursing staff will ask the catering department to provide a meal when you get back.
Hospital restaurant, cafes and shops
Find out more about our restaurant, cafes and shops.
You will come across many different members of staff during your time in hospital. All our staff are trained to give you the best care possible and treat you with courtesy and consideration at all times.
We know it can be difficult to keep track of all the staff who visit you during your time in hospital. All staff wear identification badges and should introduce themselves to you but, if they don’t, please feel free to ask them to do so.
Consultants are senior doctors responsible for patient care. Each consultant works with a team of doctors. The specialist registrar supervises your treatment, while senior house officers look after your daily care.
Doctors from the medical team will visit you regularly to see how you are getting on and to prescribe treatment. If, at any time, you would like to discuss your treatment with a member of the medical team, your nurse can arrange a meeting.
A sister or charge nurse is the head of each ward and is supported by a modern matron and clinical services manager. They are assisted by nurses and healthcare assistants, who will be involved in your day-to-day care while you are on the ward.
The nurse in charge of each shift will wear a red ‘nurse in charge’ badge so that they can be easily identified.
You will have an identified nurse responsible for co-ordinating your care on each shift. Different nurses wear different types of uniform – any nurse on the ward will be able to explain this in more detail.
There are many other members of staff who you may meet during your stay in hospital. These include:
- domestic staff
- catering assistants
- ward clerks
- occupational therapists
- social workers
- welfare rights advisors
- infection prevention and control nurses
Royal Brompton hospital is a postgraduate teaching hospital. This means that doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff come to our hospital for advanced training. Some of this training takes place on the wards and this means a small number of postgraduate students may be present when your doctor is with you. They may ask to examine you. If you would rather not have students involved in your care, please tell us. This will not have any effect on your care or treatment.
The multi-faith chaplaincy team
While in hospital you may have concerns and worries. The spiritual and religious needs of patients, their families and friends are important to us. Our multi-faith chaplaincy team is committed to supporting you during your stay with us. If there is anything they can do to help you, please speak to the ward staff, who can put you in touch with them.
Within the team there are various faiths. If you would like to see someone from your own faith group, this can be arranged, either from within our own team or from our many religious contacts locally.
Perhaps you just want someone to talk to. If so, a member of the chaplaincy team will be happy to meet for an informal chat.
If you need some peace and quiet time for meditation or prayer, you can visit one of our spaces:
- The chapel, near the lifts, level 2, Sydney Street
- Multi-faith prayer room beside the chapel, Sydney Street
- Quiet room, Victoria ward, 2nd floor, Fulham Road
They are open to everyone, whether you have faith or not.
We also have weekly services and activities across the hospital. Find out more.
In an emergency (out of hours), please ask staff to contact the on-call chaplain.
Patient advice and liaison service (PALS)
Sometimes you may have a question or worry that you don’t feel you can share with a doctor or nurse. In these instances, you can contact the patient advice and liaison service, who can help you with any concern you may have.
If you would like a hospital volunteer to visit you, PALS can arrange this.
You can contact PALS at Royal Brompton Hospital on 0207 349 7715 or via the main switchboard on 0207 7352 8121.
You can contact PALS at Harefield Hospital on 01895 826 572 or via the main switchboard on 01895 823 737.
The PALS offices are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm, and can be found near the Royal Brompton Sydney Street reception, or the main reception at Harefield. Find out more about PALS.
We have a range of measures at our hospitals to prevent the spread of infection and keep you safe. For example, we:
- Follow national guidance for infection prevention
- Train our staff and volunteers in how to limit the spread of infection
- Carry out regular cleanliness checks of clinical areas
- Take extra care cleaning surfaces that people touch
Washing your hands is also an important part of preventing infection. You can help us by making sure you:
- clean your hands before meals. A hand wash basin is available in each of the bays and side rooms.
- clean your hands with soap and water after using the toilet
- encourage your visitors to clean their hands when they enter and leave the ward
Patients who have some infections will be in a side room, and everyone will need to wear gloves and aprons - there will be a sign on the door telling visitors what precautions are needed. If either you or your visitors are unsure about what you need to do, please ask a member of the nursing team.
If you’re not sure whether someone treating you has cleaned their hands, please ask – they will not be offended.
Find out more about our approach to infection prevention.
A provisional ‘going home’ date will be discussed when you are admitted. As soon as your doctor feels you are well enough, this date will be confirmed. If you have any worries about returning home, please tell your nurse or the social worker.
On your day of discharge, you may be asked to vacate your bed. You will be able to wait in our day room for your transport home. While you are waiting. a nurse will complete your discharge process.
Health insurance forms and sickness certificates
If you need a sickness certificate for your employer, we can only sign one for the time you have been in hospital. Your GP will provide a certificate for any further cover.
If you require a health insurance form to be completed, please tell the nurse looking after you or the ward administrator and they will arrange this.
Please arrange in advance for a relative or friend to collect you when you leave hospital. If this is impossible, notify your nurse as soon as possible as it could take up to 48 hours to arrange transport.
If you arrived at hospital by hospital transport please ensure your nurse knows this on admission.
How you can help us before you leave
Here are some helpful and useful things you can do before you leave the hospital that will help our staff:
- leave a forwarding address with your nurse
- remind the person who is collecting you to bring your clothes (if you are travelling on hospital transport you should wear outdoor clothing and not nightwear)
- ask your nurse for any medical certificates you may need
- collect any valuables you brought with you
Individual staff are not allowed to accept personal gifts but sometimes patients wish to show their appreciation by means of a contribution. Read more on our fundraising pages.
When you are back at home
Please feel free to telephone the ward if you want advice at any time.
If you have a question or any concerns about your medication when you get home, please telephone our medicines helpline on 020 7351 8901 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). A member of our pharmacy department will do their best to help you.