National lockdown: Our services remain open at the Royal Free London

4 November 2020

A national lockdown will be in place in England from 5 November until 2 December. During this time we would like to reassure our patients and local communities that our services remain open.

We are here to help and encourage you to access the care that you need.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have temporarily re-organised how some of our care is provided to make sure we can continue to care for you safely. This will support us through the winter months and help ensure that the trust is prepared for any further outbreaks of the virus.

We are continuing to prioritise patients with the most urgent clinical need. If you have an appointment, it is important you attend this as planned to ensure diagnosis and treatment are not delayed.

Urgent and emergency care

In a serious or life threatening emergency, please call 999 without delay. 

If you need urgent care, please call NHS 111. They can book appointments in GP practices, urgent care centres (UCC) and emergency departments (ED) for those who need urgent care.

By contacting NHS 111 first you will:

  • speak with a health care professional earlier, and get the right treatment first time
  • be directed to the most appropriate NHS service for your needs
  • be able to arrange an urgent face-to-face appointment, if needed
  • avoid waiting for a long time in ED waiting rooms

Our UCC at Chase Farm Hospital is open to adults and children. Opening times and further information about when to visit an UCC can be found here.

Our EDs remain open for people needing care for a serious or life-threatening emergency. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as follows:

  • Barnet Hospital: For adults and children/young people
  • Royal Free Hospital: For adults only (anyone aged 18 and over)

The NHS also provides a range of other services to help you get well if you are injured or ill, but it is not serious or life threatening. To find out which service is most appropriate for your needs, visit our website.

Planned surgery

You may have your operation/procedure in a different location to where you expected. You may also see a different surgeon to who you expected.

This means we may need to change the date of your operation/procedure.

Out-patient appointments

Where possible, appointments are taking place by telephone or video.

In some cases, we may ask to see you in person. You may have your appointment in a different location to where you expected and also see a different clinician. This means we may need to change the date of your appointment. We will always give you as much notice as possible of any changes.

Please do not arrive for your appointment more than 15 minutes in advance to enable us to maintain social distancing in our waiting rooms.

Diagnostic tests and imaging appointments

If you have a diagnostic test (eg a biopsy or blood test) or imaging appointment (eg an MRI, CT or x-ray scan), it is important you attend the hospital for this as planned. 

Please do not arrive for your appointment more than 15 minutes in advance to enable us to maintain social distancing in our waiting rooms.

In some cases, you may have your test in a different location to where you expected or the time/date may need to be changed. We will notify you as soon as possible of any changes.

How we are keeping you safe when you visit us

We are managing the risk of infection to make sure that all patients coming into hospital, and staff working in hospitals, will be as safe as possible.
 
Steps being taken include: 

  • We are separating/physically distancing, as much as possible, the facilities where we care for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who may have symptoms of the virus or have risk factors for COVID-19, and patients being treated for planned care.
  • We are following national guidance for infection prevention and control and all staff are trained in how to limit the spread of infection in hospitals.
  • Hospital theatres, equipment and wards are deep-cleaned regularly, in line with national guidance.
  • Patients and staff are required to wear a face mask while in our hospitals/sites.
  • We are following social distancing measures in our waiting areas, and more hand sanitising points are available in our hospitals.

You can read more about what to expect when you visit us here.