Coronavirus (COVID-19): Current information and advice

Updated Monday 27 April 2020

Restrictions on attendance and visiting  |  Changes to services  |  Protecting yourself and others

A&E: Our Accident & Emergency units are open as normal and are here for you if you need them.

We have the capacity and resources to treat emergency patients and have separate areas for the safe care of people with and without COVID-19. However, we are asking everyone attending A&E to come on their own if possible or, if you do need help, to bring only one person with you. Only one parent/carer should accompany a child.

Maternity: Information about our maternity services is available through the Family Assist support service:

Restrictions on hospital attendance and visiting

St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester  |  Southlands Hospital, Shoreham-by-Sea  |  Worthing Hospital


  • it is an emergency, or
  • you have an appointment, or
  • you are a member of NHS staff.

The only visitors now allowed in our hospitals are:

  • One birth partner for a woman in labour
  • One parent/carer for a child in paediatrics (no siblings allowed)
  • One parent/carer for a baby in our neonatal units
  • Carers with a carer’s passport or a carer’s card
  • Visitors for an end-of-life patient.To balance compassion with safe care, the number of visitors permitted at this time will be at the ward manager’s discretion

These restrictions may be relaxed in exceptional circumstances only – please contact the ward manager if you need to discuss.

Alternative ways of staying in touch

We know this is a worrying time for relatives of patients so we are doing everything we can to help you stay connected with the people who matter to you most.

This includes the launch of a new patient messaging service and the use of iPads and smartphones to help patients make voice and video calls.

Please see our visiting page for more information

No-one should come into any area of our hospitals if they or a member of their household has either of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • a new persistent cough or
  • a temperature (fever) of 37.8 degrees or more
  • Loss of taste or smell

If you have either of these symptoms you should self-isolate at home for seven days and follow the latest government advice.

All other members of a household in which anyone has either of these symptoms should not leave their home for 14 days to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Changes to services

Non-urgent surgery | Diagnostic procedures | Outpatient appointments

In line with national guidance, all non-urgent planned surgery and diagnostic procedures have been postponed since March 20th to free up extra staff and resources to meet the demands of caring for patients with COVID-19.

Urgent, emergency and cancer surgery is continuing as normal.

We are also continuing to provide outpatient appointments, but our teams are exploring ways of doing so without patients having to come in to hospital – including telephone consultations and virtual clinics.

We are contacting everyone affected.

If you do not hear from us about a postponement, please come in as planned unless you are self-isolating or have any of the symptoms of coronavirus described above.

If you are in a high-risk group and do not wish to come in, please get in touch with the relevant service via the contact details in your appointment letter.

All postponed operations, procedures and appointments will be rescheduled as soon as demands on our hospitals allow.

Protect yourself and others

The safety of all our patients and staff is our top priority and we are confident in our procedures for responding to the spread of coronavirus.

Our staff are practised and skilled in treating patients with infectious diseases, we have robust infection control measures in place and are following the most up-to-date national guidance and procedures at all times.

However, we all have a part to play in protecting ourselves and others.

The best thing you can do to help stop the spread of coronavirus is to follow the latest government guidance on social distancing.

Please also follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Wash your hands when you get to work or arrive home, after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze, after using public transport, and before you eat or handle food
  • Use a tissue to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Clean and disinfect regularly-touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products

If you need information and advice about the early symptoms of coronavirus, please visit the NHS website at

This should be your first stop for advice about the virus.

Please only call NHS 111 if you cannot get the help you need online, or

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home,
  • your condition gets worse, or
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days.


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