Coronavirus (COVID-19): Current information and advice

Restrictions on attendance and visiting  |  Resuming services  |  Protecting yourself and others

NHS 111 First

For medical advice when it is not a life-threatening emergency, please contact NHS 111 first. Call 111 or visit

They can direct you to the right place and can book a time slot / appointment for services at our Emergency Departments or Urgent Treatment Centre.

By calling 111 first you are making sure you are going to the most appropriate service for your needs – getting the right care in the right place in a more timely way.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, you can still attend the Emergency Department or call 999.

Providing COVID-safe care 

Our hospitals have measures in place to ensure we can safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services.

These include keeping Covid-19 patients away from non-Covid-19 patients, requiring all staff and visitors to wear face coverings and masks, observing social distancing and cleaning our environment continuously.

It’s safe and important to attend your appointment and seek help when needed.

Unless you hear from the hospital directly, please attend as normal. 

A&E: Our Accident & Emergency units are open as normal and are here for you in a medical emergency. For medical advice when it is not a life-threatening emergency, please contact NHS 111 first. Call 111 or visit

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 symptoms. However, we are asking everyone attending A&E to come on their own unless they require a carer. 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 visiting

Supporting compassionate visiting during COVID-19                                        

Keeping our patients and staff safe is our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so while providing compassionate care for patients and their loved ones is very important to us.        

Unfortunately, due to rising numbers of cases in the community and in our hospitals, we have had to limit visiting. To enable patients to keep in touch with their loved ones we have done so while continuing to extend our provision of online communications channels. 

With immediate effect, visiting will only be permitted under the following circumstances: 

  • To spend time with a patient in the final days of their life 
  • To accompany a patient with a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism 
  • To accompany a pregnant person for early pregnancy scans at 12-13 weeks and 20 weeks 
  • To support a pregnant person in labour – one birth partner is allowed at a time. A second, alternative birth partner is allowed to trade places with the original birth partner, but the first birth partner must leave the delivery suite 
  • To visit a partner and newborn on our postnatal wards between 3 and 4pm  
  • To stay with a child or young person who has been admitted to the children’s wards 
  • To visit an infant on the neonatal ward or child on the children’s ward – only one parent or carer 
  • Carers with a carer’s passport can continue to visit as usual 

Visiting is between 2pm and 8pm for up to one hour and must be arranged in advance with the ward or unit where the person you are visiting is being cared for. Our ward managers will do their best to make compassionate decisions regarding visiting to meet the needs of our patients and their loved ones.  

You must not visit if: 

  • You have any respiratory or flu like symptoms, high temperature or loss of taste &/or smell 
  • Your household is isolating due to suspected COVID  
  • You have been in contact with someone else who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID 
  • If you are returning from overseas and are required to quarantine for 14 days before visiting. 

All visitors must: 

  • Wear a surgical mask at all times within the hospital – these can be supplied 
  • Arrive and leave through the main hospital reception 
  • Clean hands with the alcohol get provided when entering and leaving the hospital and each ward or department 
  • Maintain a distance of 2metres from other people at all times 
  • Keep to the left in corridors 
  • Stay with the patient they are visiting at all times  
  • Dispose of your mask in the bin provided before leaving the hospital 


Keeping in touch – we continue to recommend that you use digital services such as FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp to stay in touch with loved ones during their hospital stay, to minimise the risk of spreading or contracting the virus. In addition, within the Trust we have access to some IPads and mobile phones for patients to use and continue to operate an initiative to enable loved ones to keep in touch remotely. Ward staff will keep in touch with you on a daily basis. 

Messages for Loved Ones –  Emails can be sent to or letters posted to Messages to Loved Ones, St Richard’s Hospital, Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO196SE. Messages will be printed and laminated for delivery to the wards Monday to Friday. 

Thinking of you – If you don’t have a loved one in hospital, there are many patients in our hospitals who would still love to hear from you. Being in hospital can be an anxious time and the kindness of strangers is greatly appreciated by many. The Trust is inviting people to send their messages to Thinking of you by email;; or post to Messages to Loved Ones, St Richard’s Hospital, Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO196SE 

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

If you have any of these symptoms you should self-isolate at home for 10 days and follow the latest government advice.

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

Please also be aware that it may not be possible to visit if we have to close part or all of the ward due to a patient being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Resuming services

Non-urgent surgery | Diagnostic procedures | Outpatient appointments

Our number one priority over the last few months has been ensuring that everyone who needs urgent care – not just those with coronavirus – has been able to get it when they need it.

Combined with the need to reduce the spread of the virus by avoiding unnecessary contact, this has meant some non-urgent appointments, diagnostic procedures and planned surgeries have been postponed or have been replaced with telephone or video consultations.

We are now preparing to gradually bring back some of these face-to-face services, but only where that can be done safely and where the need of the patient has been risk assessed by the clinical team. The virus is still circulating and we don’t want to put our patients, the public or our staff at greater risk. 

We will continue to ask patients to attend face-to-face services only when it is clinically necessary. Where possible, appointments will continue to be offered using remote services such as a video or phone consultation.

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.

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 COVID-19.

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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