What family, friends and carers can do to help 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is asking all families, friends and carers of patients at the hospital to do their part to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

Maintaining the safety of our patients, visitors and staff is our top priority and we want to ensure that we are doing all we can do to reduce the risk of infection. 

To do this, we have introduced restrictions on visitors, changed face-to-face outpatient appointments to telephone appointments where possible, cancelled some planned operations, and asked family, friends and carers to take patients home at the earliest opportunity. 

We ask everyone to ensure they follow the latest NHS advice on coronavirus which can be found at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Patient appointments

Please see Information for patients and visitors.

Restrictions on visiting 

We are working to help delay the spread of the virus within the community, by placing some necessary restrictions on visiting, both in hospital and if our community team carries out a home visit. 

Please see Visitor restrictions.

Help us to discharge patients as soon as possible

To ensure that all patients who no longer need our hospital care can return to their own homes in a safe and timely manner, we kindly ask that family, friends and carers arrange transport to pick up the patient from hospital when they have been told they can go home.

They should also prepare clothes and shoes for the patient, to make the discharge process easier and quicker.

This helps us ensure beds are available for the numbers of patients we expect to be affected by COVID-19 in the days and week ahead. 

Switching to telephone appointments 

To prevent patients visiting hospital for outpatient appointments which could increase the risk of infection, we have switched people's face-to-face outpatient appointments to telephone where possible. 

We will contact you in advance if we are changing your appointment in this way. Please let us know at the earliest opportunity if you cannot make your appointment. 

Suspending non-emergency elective operations 

As part of our preparations, we have suspended non-emergency elective operations until further notice.

This does not affect operations for people with cancer or those which the consultant assesses as being clinically urgent.

Those patients who are affected are in the process of being notified.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. 

Attending the Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre 

We do not want patients to avoid the Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre if they are in a life-threatening or serious condition. 

Patients should continue to use the Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre as normal, but they will need to restrict the number of visitors that come with them to just one. 

If you have an urgent medical problem and you're not sure what to do, go to NHS 111 online - www.111.nhs.uk

Stay at home if you have coronavirus 

Stay at home for seven days if you have either: 

  • A high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual) 

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. 

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home. 

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home. 

If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. 

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days. 

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible. 

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after seven days

If you are self-isolating for coronavirus, or if you are symptomatic, please do not enter the hospital.

If you have a community appointment, please let us know in advance.

Can you work for us?

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we're looking for people to work for us temporarily - please see Working for us: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update.

Join the NHS Volunteer Responders

This is a new group that will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions.

They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to stay safe and well at home.

For full details, please see Join the NHS Volunteer Responders.

Gifts and donations for our staff

We are so grateful for every donation but ask that you please contact Brighter Futures first, rather than arriving to the hospital yourself.

We are trying to restrict visitors to reduce the spread of infection and it is important that donations are coordinated safely.

Thank you to everyone who has generously donated food, drinks and care packages to our hard-working staff during this time.

Brighter Futures
Email: gwh.fundraising@nhs.net
Tel: 01793 605631 or 07775 242965

Further information 

For the latest coronavirus advice, please the NHS website: Conditions: Coronavirus (COVID-19) (www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/).

Report a problem with this web page

Please contact us at gwh.webmaster@nhs.net and we'll put it right.

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