COVID-19 (coronavirus) update.

We have implemented a number of restrictions to minimise the spread of COVID-19 at the RHN.

Read about the measures we are taking to keep our patients and residents protected.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) FAQs

Updated Monday 24 January 2021

Coronavirus restrictions 

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place in the RHN. Government guidance can be read here.

Chief Executive Paul Allen writes to families every week, and publishes a video here every Friday. It also appears on the home page.


Family visiting will resume on Monday 31 January, with twice-weekly pre-arranged visits for two hours to take place on wards. Families will be given with an FFP2 mask to wear for the duration of their visit. 

Lateral flow testing

When visiting restarts, all visitors to the RHN, regardless of the reason for their visit, must do a lateral flow test before they arrive and upload it to Visitors must bring the text or email confirmation of their result.

Lateral flow tests are no longer available on site, unless there are exceptional pre-agreed circumstances. Find out more about lateral flow testing here.

Business visitors

No external business visitors are allowed on site.


Visitors must wash their hands thoroughly on arrival at the RHN, and to continue to wash their hands throughout their visit. 

Masks and social distancing

Social distancing must be observed, and all staff and visitors must wear a face masks all times. Visitors must take a fresh surgical mask at reception and wear that during their visit. If you have a child with you, if possible, please could they also wear a mask

If you are exempt from wearing a mask please speak to a matron or head of service to arrange for a mask exemption while inside the RHN.

For all questions about your own health, please follow NHS guidance and take advice by contacting NHS 111.

Travel abroad

If you have recently travelled from abroad or are planning to travel abroad please always refer to the government guidelines.

How can I help?

This is a challenging time for everyone. We are working with NHS colleagues to make sure we receive support and advice from healthcare teams in London, and we will keep you up to date with information as it changes.

Please help us by looking after your own health, reading Paul Allen’s weekly letter or watching his video and through your own ward’s communication channels. We will let you know if there is anything more you can do to help.

Please do not phone the wards to ask if we have patients in the hospital who are unwell.
We will not be able to give you this information. Staff will maintain patient confidentiality at all times, but please be assured that we are taking every step possible to ensure the safety of all our patients and residents.

Who is being tested for Coronavirus?

We follow the advice from the UK Health Security Agency regarding the testing of both our patients and staff.

Many of our patients are vulnerable and due to individual underlying health conditions, may have respiratory problems and/or difficulties controlling their body temperature. We know that these are also symptoms of COVID-19.

If a patient has these symptoms, we will carefully assess the situation and test a patient if we feel that there is any possibility the symptoms might be a Coronavirus infection. In many cases the tests will be negative. In the event of a positive result, we will make swift and appropriate changes to clinical care and treatment.

What does testing involve?

The test involves swabs of the nose and throat. The time taken for results to be available varies but is approximately 24-48 hours.

Whilst waiting for results, the patient will be treated in isolation and ward staff will use masks and gloves when providing care. Isolation will continue if a patient has a positive result, but it is not necessary to continue isolation if the results are negative.

What happens if a patient needs urgent or emergency medical treatment?

There is currently no change in our procedures for managing medical emergencies. Patients and residents who become unwell will be reviewed by a medical team and will be transferred to another hospital if this is necessary.

Can I phone the ward that my relative/friend is on for an update?

You can find the numbers for each ward here. Please call after 10am wherever possible.

We do ask that only one or two people phone the ward with any questions, and then inform other relatives/friends afterwards. This will mean that our staff aren’t spending too much answering calls and being taken away from patient care.

If you are asking about a patient/resident, you will be asked

  • what your relationship is to the patient and their date of birth
  • your full details

Where a patient/resident is unable to give permission, our staff will refer to the usual adult representative. If they are able to give consent, staff will seek permission before giving you information about their condition or treatment.

We thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Will the hospital have enough staff?

We have extensive plans in place to staff our hospital safely, and we are monitoring our staffing numbers very closely. Our staff are really committed to our patients, and we are well supported by non-clinical staff who have received training to support where necessary.

Are agency staff still working?

Yes – we are working very closely with all our supporting agencies who provide temporary staff to the RHN. Medical, nursing and healthcare staff are working in designated zones alongside permanent staff and this will continue.

Does the hospital have enough supplies?

Yes. We have been working to increase our stock levels of important equipment and medicine, and have support from other agencies and the NHS to help us if necessary.

Additional reading:

Information for families and carers of those who died in hospital – download pdf