Coronavirus (COVID-19): Current information and advice

Restrictions on attendance and visiting  |  Resuming 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 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

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

Visitors, wearing masks/face coverings are now allowed in our hospitals on the following basis:

  • Maternity: One birth partner for a woman in labour
  • Paediatrics: One parent/carer for a child (no siblings allowed)
  • Neonatal Units: One parent/carer for a baby
  • Inpatient wards: One visitor per day, by prior arrangement (see below) (please note there are some exceptions for areas where patients with Covid-19 are being cared for)
  • End-of-life patients: To balance compassion with safe care, the number of visitors permitted at this time will be at the ward manager’s discretion
  • Carers with a carer’s passport or a carer’s card can continue to visit as usual.

Visiting patients on our wards

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.

However, you are now allowed to see patients on wards as well as visit them virtually, subject to a number of safety measures now in place.

In particular:

Each patient can have one visitor for a maximum of one hour each day, between 2pm and 8pm

Visits must be pre-booked by phoning the ward, preferably at least a day in advance, so we can make sure we don’t have too many people in at one time

You must wear a face covering (or mask) all the time you are inside the hospital

Please note there are some areas where visiting will not be allowed while patients with Covid-19 are being cared for

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

  • 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 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.


How can we make this page better?