Information about visiting

Updated 22 November 2021

On Monday 19th July, new government guidance came into force for England, lifting a series of Covid-19 restrictions as part of the final stage of the government’s four-step roadmap for lifting lockdown.

Across our hospitals, the safety of our patients, staff and visitors is paramount, and we will continue to observe the measures we currently have in place to keep everyone safe during their visit. This follows the guidelines set by Public Health England that state that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.  

Visiting has not yet returned to normal levels and continues to be carefully managed. Regretfully, our wards remain closed to visitors. Visitors will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, including: 

  • For patients at the end of their lives. This will be arranged directly with the nursing team. 
  • One parent/guardian for a child. This should be arranged with the nursing team before or on the day of admission.  
  • Only one regular carer for a patient with additional needs, such as a patient with dementia, autism, learning disability or other impairments. In these cases, the visitor will go through the same COVID-19 shielding and testing procedure as the patient. This will be explained pre-admission as there are some local differences. If a carer is required, this should be discussed with the nursing team before admission. 

Further guidance for visiting loved ones who fall in one or more of these groups can be found below. 

Please note that any requests to change named visitors must be discussed with the nursing team. 

Visiting a patient with additional needs

Patients with additional needs include those who need a carer/family member to help with communication and/or to meet their health or social care needs.

For example, patients with a learning disability, autism, advanced dementia or other impairments, which may mean they have difficulty following medical advice and treatment without the support of a family member or carer.

Family members or carers who plan to visit or stay with someone who needs additional support, are asked to tell members of the clinical team before the patient comes into hospital or tell them as soon as possible if the patient’s visit to hospital is unplanned.

Before visiting a patient, family members or carers need to:

1. Make sure the visit is agreed with the ward nurse in charge before visiting.

2. Complete COVID-19 screening measures – a symptoms questionnaire with staff. The ward nurse will help to arrange this.

3. Arrive at the hospital wearing a face covering and keep it on throughout your visit. 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. 

You must also: 

  • Not come to the hospital if you are feeling unwell, including cold or flu symptoms
  • Wash or gel your hands as soon as you enter a ward or unit, and frequently thereafter. You should also avoid touching your face, wherever possible, and wash/sanitise your hands before putting on and removing your face covering
  • Keep a two-metre distance between yourself and anyone you come across during your visit. You may see markings on the floor in our buildings to help you comply with this.
  • Follow the additional measures that will be requested by our staff if you are visiting a patient with an infection
  • Follow NHS guidance related to how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus.

Virtual visiting

We understand how important the support of family and friends can be for patients in their recovery while they are in hospital, so while visiting restrictions are in place, patients are encouraged to use 'virtual visiting' to ensure contact with friends and family is maintained. Ward staff will try to make sure patients have access to, and support with, electronic devices such as iPads and smartphones, whenever needed. We have a small supply in the hospital, but inpatients should bring their own where possible.

We will regularly review visiting arrangements. We thank you for co-operating with us during this time.   


We are continuing to encourage outpatients to arrive alone to their appointment. If you require a relative or carer to accompany you during your visit, please inform the outpatients department prior to your appointment. 

Help us protect your loved ones

Please do not visit if you have a cough, cold or any other infectious illness – you could pass it on to a patient.

Visitors who have suffered with symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting in the previous 48 hours are asked not to visit and to refrain from visiting for a further 72 hours. This restriction helps safeguard our patients from the risk of infection.


It is not advisable to bring babies or very small children onto surgical wards. Again, this is because of infection risks. However, if you have no choice, please ensure they are supervised at all times. When children become noisy or upset, we may have to ask you to leave as this can disturb patients.


Unfortunately, flowers are not allowed in some areas of the hospital. This is because the stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria could be transferred from the water to surgical wounds or intravenous lines (drips), causing serious infection. 

Flowers and plants are not allowed in the intensive care unit, or high dependency unit.


Royal Brompton Hospital is smoke free so please help us to protect the patients by not smoking immediately before visiting. Patients who smoke will be offered nicotine replacement support while in hospital and you can help by supporting them in their efforts to quit.

For support quitting, contact your GP practice or the NHS stop smoking service on 0800 0221 4332.

Help to fight infection

You will doubtless have read in the news about hospital-acquired infections like MRSA. We tackle these infections very seriously and have a good track record in this area. You will see alcohol pump dispensers at the entrance to each ward and at patients’ bedsides. We ask you to do your bit by using these when you enter the ward or at the bedside.

Read more about infection prevention.

Overnight accommodation

We have accommodation available for visitors if there is a need to stay overnight. 

Find out visitor accommodation rates for Royal Brompton Hospital.

Find out visitor accommodation rates for Harefield Hospital