Visiting patients at the Royal Free London

Visiting at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust


At the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, we understand the important role visitors play in supporting patients in their recovery. We want all visitors to feel welcome, valued and able to ask questions. Our visitors' charter sets out what you can expect from us and what we will expect from you in return, including the safety measures that are still in place regarding visiting. 

For adult inpatients at Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital standard visiting times are between 2pm – 8pm every day. Please see visiting table for full details of ward opening times. Restrictions will still apply if a patient has COVID-19, in which case you must telephone the ward first to see if a visit is possible. 

Compassionate visiting

Compassionate visiting for adult inpatients means that visiting can occur outside of a ward’s normal visiting hours or in times of restricted or suspended visiting, if the patient meets any of the following criteria:       

  • They are dying (last days and hours of life)
  • They have a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism
  • Where the attendance of a key contact will benefit a patient's clinical condition or wellbeing  (ward staff will get in touch if a visit will be beneficial)

Intensive care unit

Patients who do not have COVID-19 can receive visits between 11.30am-7.30pm as detailed above.

For patients in Barnet Hospital's intensive care unit with COVID-19, please speak to the nursing team to arrange a visit. For patients on ITU North, call 020 8216 5298 and for ITU South, call 020 8216 4120. 

For patients in the Royal Free Hospital's intensive care unit in respiratory isolation, such as suffering with COVID-19 or flu, please speak to the nursing team (020 7794 0500 extension 24545 available Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm) to arrange a visit. Patients not in respiratory isolation can receive visits between 12pm-8pm as detailed above.


  • One partner or companion can attend all antenatal clinic appointments and pregnancy scans.
  • One partner or companion can attend the Maternity Day Unit (Barnet) and Day Assessment Unit (Royal Free) and Triage units at both sites.
  • Two birth partners can support women on the labour wards and in the birth centres.
  • One partner or companion can visit throughout a 24-hour period on Victoria ward and 5 South (antenatal / postnatal wards)
  • One additional partner or companion is permitted on Victoria ward and 5 South (antenatal / postnatal wards) between 2pm-8pm. The second visitor can be a sibling.

Children and young people

We encourage the involvement of parents/carers in all aspects of their child's care. On our children’s wards:

  • Two family members can visit from 8am-8pm.
  • One adult is allowed to stay overnight.
  • Siblings can visit.

Emergency department

We are currently accommodating our patients’ needs for a companion as much as possible, but we need to do this as safely as possible for everybody. We also need to take account of overcrowding in the department. 

  • Adults are allowed one accompanying visitor in all areas.
  • Visitors may be expected to wait in the relatives’ rooms/waiting areas at times when patients are in the resuscitation room, ambulance assessment area or undergoing scanning/procedures.
  • At the Royal Free Hospital, children may be accompanied by one or both parents/carers. Please note that parents/carers are expected to take siblings out of the department where more than one adult is present.
  • Due to the space constraints in the paediatric emergency department waiting room at Barnet Hospital, it is requested that children and young people are only accompanied by one parent or carer.
  • At times when capacity is full, to avoid overcrowding in waiting rooms, visitors will be asked to wait outside.
  • Visiting within the department is at the discretion of staff.

Neurological rehabilitation centre at Edgware Community Hospital

The NRC inpatient unit is offering visiting as detailed above, from 1:30pm-7:30pm. Please discuss compassionate visiting requests with the ward manager, key worker or therapist.

Chaplains and faith/religious leaders

One of the trust’s chaplains, as a member of staff, can visit a patient on a ward.  If there is a request for a patient’s own recognised religious or faith leader to attend, this can be facilitated providing they comply with the visitors’ charter.  The religious or faith leader attending should also let our chaplaincy team know they will be attending. They can do this by calling 020 7830 2742.


You may bring someone with you if you are attending an outpatient appointment in our hospitals. Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes prior to your appointment time to minimise overcrowding in our waiting areas.

General advice for patients and visitors

Stay at home if you are suffering from cold/flu symptoms or vomiting and/or diarrhoea, and do not visit until you have been symptom free for at least two days.

Members of staff, patients and visitors are no longer required to wear a mask in public, clinical and non-clinical areas across the Royal Free London, except when specifically indicated. Please continue to take precautions based on your situation and anyone is welcome to wear a mask if they feel safer doing so. A clinical area refers to a department, a ward, a waiting area, or clinic.

Thank you for your co-operation and help in respecting these changes