Pausing all planned procedures and out-patient appointments

20 December 2020

In response to the on-going COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the increasing need for us to care for patients requiring urgent, emergency or COVID-19 care, the Royal Free London has taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all non-urgent planned procedures/operations and non-urgent and consultant led out-patient services. This will be implemented from the afternoon of Monday, 21 December 2020. 

In doing this, we will be able to free up vital staff to help care for patients with the most urgent clinical need. 

If you are affected by this decision, please be assured that we will contact you directly as soon as possible. 

Patients booked in for endoscopy appointments and those with a breast screening appointment should attend as normal. 

If you do not hear from us, please visit the hospital or attend your phone/video appointment as planned. 

We know this will be disappointing news for those waiting for planned treatment, and we are sorry for this. 

Urgent and emergency care, including cancer treatments will continue. If you experience any symptoms that concern you, we urge you to speak to your GP and seek the care you need.  

We will review this decision on an on-going basis and hope to restart these services as soon as possible. 

Imaging

If you have an appointment for a scan, unless we contact you, please attend as normal. This includes appointments for ultrasounds, CT scans, X-rays and nuclear medicine.

FAQs 

Why are you cancelling operations or appointments? 

As more people require care for COVID-19, it’s essential for us to free up vital clinical staff to support areas of our hospitals that need it most during this challenging time.  

We know how disappointing this will be for patients who have been waiting, and we are sorry if you are affected by this decision. 

Do you know when I might be rescheduled? 

Unfortunately at this time, we are not able to advise when you might be rescheduled. We will be reviewing this decision on an on-going basis, and you will be contacted as soon as it is possible for us to see you. 

This is not the first time my operation/appointment has already been postponed – will I be prioritised when the service is up and running again? 

We are really sorry for your experience. We are continuing to see and treat patients with the most urgent clinical need. When our services resume, patients will be seen in order of clinical priority. 

What do I do if my condition worsens? 

If you have any concerns about your health, or your condition has deteriorated, please contact your hospital service or GP.  

What do I do if I experience symptoms that concern me? 

If you have any symptom that you are worried about, speak to your GP without delay.  

I haven’t been contacted – should I still attend the hospital? 

If you have not been advised of any changes to your operation/procedure/appointment, please attend your appointment as planned.  

Can I still access the hospital in an emergency? 

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a serious or life threatening emergency (for example symptoms of a heart attack or stroke) you must dial 999 immediately. 

If you require urgent care, please call NHS 111 first. 

Our urgent care centre at Chase Farm Hospital and emergency departments at Barnet Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital are open. Full details are available here

I would like to give feedback or raise a concern. Who can I speak to? 

We encourage you to get in touch with us if you have any feedback or a concern. 

Our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) is also available to support you should you need it. They are available by email and telephone and their details can be found here. During this time, please be advised that it may take them longer than usual to get back to you.