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Hospital contact numbers

COVID-19 FAQ's

This is an uncertain time for the whole country, we understand that even under ‘normal’ circumstances coming into a hospital can be a difficult time for many people, therefore this list of Frequently asked questions has been compiled to assist visitors and patients to our hospitals in addition to information patients will be sent in the normal course of their treatment. If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison services.

Updated 14th September 2020.

As you will be aware, the NHS has come under great strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the non-urgent hospital and community services were ‘paused’ - both as a safety precaution and to allow us to deliver the urgent care necessary.     

While the restrictions of lockdown are easing, there are still measures in place which impact on the number of patients we are able to see and treat. If you are a patient on our waiting list, we have recently written to you to let you know that we haven’t forgotten about you, and to ask you to please bear with us as we start to make new appointments for our patients.    

Some patients may have already received their appointments so if you have received yours, please attend that appointment as planned. If you are still waiting for your appointment, we appreciate that you may be disappointed and would like to reassure you that we will be in touch with you directly within the next three months with more information about when you may receive your appointment.  

We also understand that you may be nervous about coming into hospital or a community setting but please be assured that we have taken all the necessary steps to keep everyone safe and reduce the potential transmission of the virus. More information is available here.  

We will, of course, keep the national guidelines under review and if changes are made that effect when you may receive your appointment, we will be in touch.    

If you are waiting for an appointment, your GP is aware that we will be back in touch soon so please do not contact them (or the surgery) for matters associated with you being on the waiting list. For other non-urgent medical conditions please contact NHS 111 or your GP surgery. For urgent conditions, you can contact NHS 111 for advice or if it is a life-threatening emergency, visit your local Emergency Department.    

We would like to thank all of our patients and their loved ones for their continued patience and support during this difficult time. Our Trust has been able to respond well to the pandemic so far and a big part of that is down to the support we have received from our patients and local communities so thank you. 

Unless the clinician needs to see you to physically examine or observe you, all outpatient appointments will be carried out via telephone or video clinics. This will enable us to continue to prevent people making unnecessary trips to hospitals and community setting wherever possible.

If you need diagnostic tests such as scans, x-rays, blood tests, etc, you will still be required to attend for your appointment in person.

As you will be aware, the NHS has come under great strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the non-urgent hospital and community services were ‘paused’ - both as a safety precaution and to allow us to deliver the urgent care necessary. 

Whilst the restrictions of lockdown are easing, there are still measures in place which impact on the number of patients we are able to see and treat. If you are a patient on our waiting list, please be assured that we haven’t forgotten about you.

Some patients may have already received their appointments but you are still waiting for your appointment, we appreciate that you may be disappointed and would like to reassure you that as soon as we are in a position to send you a date; we will be in touch. We aim to be in touch within the next three months with more information about when you may receive your appointment.

We will, of course, keep the national guidelines under review and if changes are made that effect when you may receive your appointment, we will be in touch.

Please do not contact your GP for matters associated with you being on the waiting list. For other non-urgent medical conditions please contact NHS 111 or your GP surgery. For urgent conditions, you can contact NHS 111 for advice or if it is a life-threatening emergency, visit your local Emergency Department.

We would like to thank you for your continued patience and support during this difficult time for all. Our Trust has been able to respond well to the pandemic so far and a big part of that is down to the support we have received from our patients and local communities so thank you. 

We are taking all precautions to ensure that our staff, patients and visitors are safe when in our hospitals or community settings, including:

  • Ensuring patients with suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus will continue to be cared for on designated wards across the Trust
  • Following national guidance regarding self-isolation and testing for coronavirus before  planned surgery Appropriate PPE will be available for colleagues in clinical areas
  • Hand washing facilities and hand gel are available at all of the Trust’s main hospitals and community settings
  • Cleaning schedules of public areas have been increased
  • Relevant wards have been reviewed to ensure there is at least 2m between the beds to allow for social distancing
  • Testing symptomatic staff and their family and also carry out routine testing of staff in frontline roles showing no symptoms (asymptomatic)
  • Access to antibody testing is also available to Trust staff and so far, over 11,000 colleagues have taken part in the initiative. This will help to build understanding and knowledge of coronavirus and inform the clinical approach

We believe these measures for staff and patients will help to significantly reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus so unless you are told otherwise, please attend your appointment. However, if you have a new continuous cough in the last seven days, loss of / change in smell or taste or fever in the last two days, you should not attend. Instead, you need to self-isolate and call the number on your appointment letter to let them know you won’t be attending.

Patients with suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus will be cared for in designated wards to allow other wards and departments to restart normal activities. Similarly, in our Emergency Departments, there are designated coronavirus and non-coronavirus areas to ensure the safety of everyone in the department.

Only authorised access is allowed to these areas and everyone is required to wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times

Testing of symptomatic staff and family will continue as per current guidelines, and there is additional capacity for routine testing of asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) staff in frontline roles will support infection prevention and control measures.

Access to antibody testing is also available to our staff which will tell us whether an individual has had the virus previously and will help to build our understanding and knowledge of coronavirus.

It is very important that we do all we can to protect our staff as well as patients. Latest government guidance states that all NHS staff should wear a surgical mask when in a hospital or community setting.

Depending on the reason you are being seen, they may wear other types of PPE such as gloves, aprons or FFP3 face masks.

Members of the public will be required to wear a face covering when coming into a hospital or community setting. This doesn’t have to be a surgical mask; it can be a textile item you already have in the house. It can be as simple as a bandana or a scarf as long as it covers the mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe.

comfortably. Make sure you wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off; and don’t touch your face covering when wearing it.

We appreciate it can be worrying for parents to bring their child into hospital. Wherever possible, we will carry out appointments via telephone or video clinics but if it is essential that your child is physically seen in clinic, we would urge you to attend any appointments.

We are taking all precautions to ensure that our patients, their families and staff are safe when in our hospitals or community settings, including:

  • Ensuring patients with suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus will continue to be cared for on designated wards across the Trust
  • Following national guidance regarding self-isolation and testing for coronavirus before  planned surgery
  • Appropriate PPE will be available for colleagues in clinical areas
  • Hand washing facilities and hand gel are available at all of the Trust’s main hospitals and community settings
  • Cleaning schedules of public areas have been increased
  • Relevant wards have been reviewed to ensure there is at least 2m between the beds to allow for social distancing
  • Testing symptomatic staff and their family and also carry out routine testing of staff in frontline roles showing no symptoms (asymptomatic)
  • Access to antibody testing is also available to Trust staff and so far, over 11,000 colleagues have taken part in the initiative. This will help to build understanding and knowledge of coronavirus and inform the clinical approach

For our patients who may be immune-supressed, extra planning and protection will be put in place. We will do everything we can to keep you safe and to provide you with information at all stages. We will also listen to your concerns and discuss them.

The steps we are actively taking to minimise the risks to our patients include:

  • Provision of dedicated hospitals in which to treat our planned surgical patients for both pre-op and post-op care, free of COVID-19 patients
  • Provision of patient swabs prior to admission to ensure no patient undergoes surgery whilst carrying COVID, nor are they exposed to others
  • Following national guidance regarding self-isolation and testing for coronavirus before  planned surgery

We have worked to ensure that we can allow for social distancing wherever possible. This includes taking out some of the chairs in our waiting rooms to allow people to sit 2m apart from each other and ensuring there is 2.3 metres between hospitals beds on our wards.

We are asking everyone to stay to the left when walking through our hospitals and signage is in place to remind everyone.

Everyone attending one of our hospitals or community settings can play their part by keeping a safe distance from others wherever possible.

Yes - we have increased and enhanced cleaning in all public areas including toilets, restaurants and entrances. 

Equipment will be cleaned in accordance with recommendations to ensure it is safe for patients. However, this may cause some delays as cleaning takes place.

Over the coming weeks, people waiting for treatment will be notified by the Trust’s administrative team if their appointments have been rescheduled. Please do not contact the Trust directly to find out if your treatment is to be rescheduled as this will only add to the pressure on the organisation.

We know that people have been waiting longer than they should for their appointments but unfortunately, we can’t provide exact timescales for how long it will take for them to be seen.

Throughout this period, we have been providing urgent and emergency care for patients, including urgent elective surgery. We are now looking at how we can gradually and cautiously increase the levels of non-coronavirus activity in our hospitals. How quickly we can do this depends on a number of things, such as availability of appropriate PPE and staffing, along with how the pandemic evolves over the weeks and months ahead.

We appreciate everyone’s continued patience and we will contacts patients about their appointments as soon as possible.

If you do need to attend hospital for planned (non-emergency) care, you will be asked to take some steps to ensure you can get the care you need in an environment that keeps you safe, as well as staff and other patients.

  • Admissions (including day surgery)

If you are being admitted to hospital, you and any members of your household will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days prior. Where possible, you may be asked to complete a test within 72 hours before going to hospital. This will be arranged for you and you will be contacted with further details prior to your appointment. If you are unable to isolate effectively or be tested before coming to hospital, your admission may be rescheduled. This will be determined by your care team using clinical judgement and in consultation with you. Our admissions team will give you all the information you need when booking you

  • Outpatient appointments

You should only attend your outpatient appointment if you have no symptoms of coronavirus. While at the appointment, it is important that you comply with normal social distancing requirements.

If you start to show symptoms of coronavirus or test positive while admitted, you will be immediately isolated to ensure the safety of other patients and staff.

If you or a loved one are going to care home or hospice after being in hospital you will be tested for coronavirus before you leave hospital. If the result of the test is positive, the care home will make arrangements to prevent the virus spreading to other residents or staff, following national guidance.

If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS111 online service, or if you cannot get help online, call 111. The NHS111 call handler will ask you a series of questions to establish what your best course of action is. They may transfer you to, or arrange a call back from, a qualified clinician like a nurse, paramedic or GP for further advice, before referring you to the most appropriate service.

If you are told to go to hospital, it is important that you come. Our staff have worked hard to ensure that the care you need can be provided as safely as possible.

When arriving at the Emergency Department, you may notice some changes. These include:

  • On arrival, you will be assessed for symptoms of coronavirus and identified as having no symptoms (asymptomatic), symptoms of coronavirus, or confirmed positive for coronavirus (if you have already been tested)
  • If you are asymptomatic it is important that you can comply with normal social distancing requirements
  • If you start to show symptoms of coronavirus or test positive while in hospital, you will be immediately isolated to ensure the safety of staff and other patients
  • If you need to be admitted to hospital, you will be tested for coronavirus. If you are still in hospital five to seven days after admission you will be tested again

As always, in an emergency, you should call 999.

If items like hand gel are required, we will provide them for patients. If you would prefer to bring your own in however, you are more than welcome.

Due to the ongoing risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19), visiting at UHMBT will remain temporarily suspended until further notice.

Access to the hospitals remains the same. More information here.

There will be limited availability of Patient Transport due to the requirement for social distancing. The situation will be assessed on an ongoing basis but in principle, patient transport will be available for those patients with a clinical need.

Parking is currently free at all of our hospital and community sites. If there are any changes to this, we will issue an update.

Our PALS Officers can provide confidential advice, information and support for patients, relatives and carers. You can contact a member of the team Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm (excluding bank holidays), on 01539 715577 (answer machine service is available) or pals@mbht.nhs.uk.

At your appointment, you may notice some changes. These include:

  • During your appointment, the clinician you are seeing may wear a mask and other protective equipment. You may also be asked to wear a mask in line with guidance. Social distancing will also be maintained where possible
  • Test will be carried out in line with national guidance with appropriate PPE where appropriate. If you need further tests, these will be arranged for you
  • If you need further appointments, these will be arranged for you by the team taking care of you

Outpatients or visitors coming to the hospital will need to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus to others. Evidence has shown that those infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and potentially transmit the virus to others without being aware of it

Outpatients should be advised of the need to bring a face covering ahead of coming to hospital for planned and outpatient care (outpatient appointments etc); for example in appointment setting calls and confirmation letters. 

All surgical face masks are classified as either Type I, IR, II, IIR, and are medical devices provided by the hospital.

Face coverings can be cloth or homemade and should cover the nose and mouth of the wearer.

If an outpatient or visitor does not have a face covering when they come to hospital, one should be provided by staff on arrival.

Local implementation plans should identify how this will be managed.

Outpatient and visitor face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade (www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering)  All visitors will be expected to comply with two -metre social/physical distancing and the recommended hand hygiene measures.

Where applicable, visitors to high risk COVID-19 areas of the hospital or visitors of patients with confirmed COVID-19 must wear appropriate PPE as per the current IPC guidance  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control

Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

For some, wearing of a face covering may be difficult, and therefore all other measures must also be considered and introduced e.g. social/physical distancing, timed appointments; being seen immediately and not kept in waiting rooms. Individual risk assessments should be undertaken where required; for example, patients with mental health and learning disabilities.

In the main, unfortunately no – there are still restrictions in place for visiting.

We want to continue to treat patients in as safe as a way as possible. Your treatment may continue as planned or there may be some alterations which will be discussed with you. If for example, the risk of continuing is potentially higher than giving you a break from or delaying treatment, this may be recommended. Any decisions regarding your treatment will be made with you.

At present parking for patients and staff is free.

A list of the patient car parks is available here.

Staff parking is currently free and at our Royal Lancaster Infirmary site there are overflow facilities available at Greaves Park hotel, the council car park by the canal near Medical Unit One (Auction Mart) and, Ripley St Thomas School visitor parking.

To protect others, you must stay at home if you or someone you live with has symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19). This is called self-isolation.

If you think you might have coronavirus, check if you need to self-isolate by using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service which is available at www.nhs.uk, if you can't access the Internet then please call NHS 111.

Please do not attend hospital or visit your GP if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, instead you must visit the NHS 111 website.

An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening emergencies, such as: · loss of consciousness

  • acute confused state and fits that are not stopping
  • chest pain
  • breathing difficulties
  • severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
  • severe allergic reactions
  • severe burns or scalds
  • stroke
  • major trauma such as a road traffic accident

The main restaurants are open on all our sites. Seats have been removed to help with social distancing and we ask all users to observe distancing guidelines.

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary restaurant is open 8:30am to 3pm and from 5:15pm to 7pm Monday to Friday and 08:30am to 2pm and from 5.15pm to 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays

Furness General Hospital is open from 8.30am -6pm Monday to Friday and from 8.30am to 5p on Saturdays and Sundays

Westmorland General Hospital: 9.30am-1.30pm

The To Go café at Westmorland General Hospital is open from 11am to 1pm, and the To Go café at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary is open 8:15am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

The RVS cafes are open with reduced hours.

We have. A full list of the ward moves is available below:

Royal Lancaster Infirmary

  • The Oncology Unit at the RLI has moved to Westmorland General Hospital (WGH)
  • The Fracture Clinic at the RLI has moved to the Oncology Unit at the RLI
  • The Minor Injuries Unit at the RLI has moved to the Fracture Clinic at the RLI
  • The Gynaecology Assessment Unit (GAU) and Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU) Ward 16 at the RLI have moved to Ward 17 at the RLI
  • The Clinical Investigations Unit at the RLI has moved to the Ophthalmology Unit at the RLI
  • The Pleural Clinical at the RLI has moved to the Ophthalmology Unit at the RLI
  • Ward 35 at the RLI has moved to the new RLI Medical Unit 1 Ward 4
  • Children’s Ward 32 at the RLI will move to Ward 16 at the RLI on Saturday 4 April
  • Ward 37 Respiratory (Higher care) at the RLI is planned to move to Ward 32 at the RLI on Sunday 5 April or Monday 6 April (to be confirmed)
  • The Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre at the RLI will move to the Rheumatology at the RLI on Tuesday 7 April

Furness General Hospital

  • The Ambulatory Care Unit FGH is expanding to include a COVID clean Emergency Department
  • The Acute Medical Unit FGH will become an additional Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • The Discharge to Assess Unit FGH will become an Acute Medical Unit

No. To protect others, you must stay at home if you or someone you live with has symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) - This is called self-isolation.

If you think you might have coronavirus, check if you need to self-isolate by using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service which is available at www.NHS.Uk, if you can't access the Internet then please call NHS 111.

Please do not attend hospital or visit your GP if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, instead you must visit the NHS 111 website.

You should follow the NHS guidelines – wash your hands more often especially:

  • when you get to work or arrive home
  • after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze
  • before you eat or handle food

You should wash your hands for 20 seconds, using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

If you think you might have coronavirus, check if you need to self-isolate by using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service which is available at www.nhs.uk, if you can't access the Internet then please call NHS 111.

Please do not attend hospital or visit your GP if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, instead you must visit the NHS 111 website.

GP surgeries are still taking calls and advising on non-covid-19 concerns.

Yes – the Lloyds outpatient pharmacies in the hospitals are still open.

If you think you might have coronavirus, check if you need to self-isolate by using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service which is available at www.nhs.uk, if you can't access the Internet then please call NHS 111.

Please do not attend hospital or visit your GP if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, instead you must visit the NHS 111 website.

GP surgeries are still taking calls and advising on non-covid-19 concerns.

At this moment it remains unclear when we will be fully running planned operations. We will be restarting these over the coming weeks but much will depend upon national advice and any updates to the UK lockdown arrangements in the next period. As we reinstate our planned work, we will be prioritising patients based on their clinical urgency and contacting patients accordingly to agree a convenient new date.

Our Trust has sufficient PPE equipment for staff. There are fresh deliveries each day and the Trust is working hard to keep sufficient stocks of all types of PPE - eg masks, aprons. gloves, gowns in place.

You can check if you are eligible for swabbing and the details of the swabbing tests by checking here.