What to expect on the hospital ward

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust aims to provide world class expertise to every patient staying on a hospital ward at Barnet, Chase Farm or the Royal Free hospitals. 

Before you arrive on the ward, you may have questions about our medical services and hospital care. 

Will I be in a mixed-sex room?

It is extremely rare for us to ask men and women to share a hospital room or bay. 

In those exceptional circumstances where a patient’s need for specialist or urgent medical care overrides the priority for an patient to have same-sex hospital accommodation, staff will ensure that the patient's privacy and dignity are maintained.

Read about our commitment to same-sex hospital accommodation.

Where can I keep my belongings when on the hospital ward?

We provide a cupboard next to the hospital bed for your personal possessions. It is not lockable and should not be used for valuable items or medicines. 

On many of our hospital wards a bedside medicines cabinet is also provided but this is for storage of medicines only. No other storage space is available.

Is there a choice of menu for hospital food and drink?

Yes. You can choose your food and drink from the menus given out on the hospital wards in advance. If you have a special diet or would like the menu read to you, please ask your nurse.

Read more about our food and drink services and our commitment to healthy eating.

Meal times are as follows:

  • Breakfast: 7.30am-9.30am
  • Mid-morning coffee: 10.15am-11am
  • Lunch: noon-1pm
  • Tea: 3-3.30pm
  • Supper: 5.45pm-7pm

An evening drink is served after visiting time.

Can I make telephone calls from my hospital ward? 

Most hospital beds are equipped with the Patientline service. This includes a personal radio, TV, telephone and answer machine. The radio and answering service are free. 

Patients are also entitled to one free hour of TV at breakfast time. Otherwise, there is a charge to use the Patientline TV and telephone. 

We regret that, for reasons of electrical safety, you cannot bring in your own TV or video/DVD players. 

There are also payphones at various points around the hospital. Some telephones are also fitted with induction loop systems to help individuals with hearing aids. 

Mobile phones should not be used in clinical areas. Please ask a nurse about where you can use your mobile phone or find more information about mobile phone use.

Hospital radio

At Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital a full patient radio service is available to in-patients. Find out more about hospital radio.

Can I smoke?

We are a smoke-free trust and smoking and vaping are not permitted on our grounds. If you smoke and would like support to stop smoking while you are an in-patient, please ask your doctor to refer you to our friendly and supportive stop smoking team. Find out more about our stop smoking service.