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 6  September 2021

Coronavirus restrictions 

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place. The restrictions 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.


On Monday 23 March we restarted visits to our patients and residents. Visits are twice weekly on a pre-arranged basis, to protect our patients and residents from COVID-19. All visitors to the RHN, regardless of the reason for their visit, must do a lateral flow test before they arrive. They must bring evidence of the result.

Our roadmap for visiting and gradually reopening the hospital is here.

Social distancing will continue to be observed, and face masks should be worn at all times. We will also require visitors to take a lateral flow test, wash their hands thoroughly on arrival at the RHN, and to continue to wash their hands throughout their visit.  From 23 August we will be asking all visitors to bring evidence of their lateral flow test result to the hospital. Lateral flow tests will be longer be available on site, unless there are exceptional pre-agreed circumstances. Find out more about lateral flow testing here.

Wards contact families directly to organise visits.

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

* Please note the update to the ‘switch my laundry‘ information.

Who is being tested for Coronavirus?

We follow the advice from the Public Health England 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.

How can I communicate with my loved one?

The hospital has established a project called ‘staying connected‘. We will use iPads to support video calls with families and friends. We have requested iPads for those who do not have them, and have a team working on this project. It will take a few days to get this into place.

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

Yes, while you are unable to visit, you can call the ward. 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
  • a password*
    – *where prior arrangements have been made, and staff have agreed a password with a designated caller (to protect a patient’s privacy and to ensure no medical information is disclosed to anyone without legal right)

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.

I wash the laundry for my loved one, can I still do this?

Yes – this will be very helpful. Please read about ‘switch my laundry‘ which will help to keep this going during this time of restrictions.

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, stay connected via our website 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.

Additional reading:

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