This is general information about your hospital stay.

For the latest advice and ward information, please see Wards and services.

During your stay we aim to provide a clean, safe and caring environment that upholds dignity, individual care needs and confidentiality.

Please be aware that due to COVID-19, you may be asked to wear a face mask during your stay with us.

From the beginning of your stay with us, we will be working with you and your family/carers to appropriately discuss and plan your discharge from our care.

Once you have been assessed by our emergency teams, we try to ensure that you are admitted to the right ward for the treatment that you need.

Sometimes we are unable to do this immediately but will always ensure that we deliver your care safely and effectively.

Unfortunately, there are times when we may have to move you to another ward during your stay, this might be due to a sicker patient needing to be on the ward or for infection control reasons.

Your consultant will know you have moved and where to.

We sincerely apologise in advance if this does happen to you and we are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

During your stay if you or your family/carer have any concerns or would like more information, please discuss this with a member of staff looking after you or ask to speak to the Ward Manager or Matron.

Alternatively, you can also contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who can support you navigate our services.

Personal items

During your stay with us you will need for essential items such as:

  • Clothes
  • Nightwear
  • Razor
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Shower gel/soap
  • Deodorant/moisturizer
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Comb/hairbrush

Importantly you will also need:

  • Well-fitting shoes or slippers
  • Any mobility aids
  • Glasses or hearing aids you normally use,
  • Any other small items you may need to make your stay more comfortable

Please be aware we are unable to accommodate flowers/plants in the ward areas due space and associated safety risks.

During the day you will be encouraged to be up and dressed in your clothes and shoes by midday as this improves your journey to recovery.

Do you help look after someone or does someone look after you?

This could be a family member, friend, or neighbour, this may include someone under the age of 18.

If so, we can provide information and signposting to local carers centres, these centres offer a range of services to support you in your caring role.

If you have a carer and you are an inpatient, they may be entitled to a carers passport please ask the ward staff about this so that we can further support you.

For more details, please see Carers.


The GWH does not accept any liability or responsibility for the loss or theft of a patients or visitors personal effect or belongings whilst in hospital.

Please ask a relative or friend to take any non-essential valuables, unnecessary clothes or belongings home.

We can arrange safe keeping of smaller valuables within our central hospital safe; we will complete an inventory with you if this is something you would like to happen.

Please be aware ward staff to not have immediate access to this safe storage, and it will take a minimum of 1-2 hours notice to receive these items back from security.

On the day of discharge

You may be transferred to one of our two Discharge Lounges; these are safe, staffed environments where you can wait to be collected by a family member, friend, or hospital transport (if you meet the criteria).


During your stay in hospital you may be started on new medications as well as your existing medications.

If you have any questions about your medication please ask the ward pharmacist, nurses or doctor looking after you.

Please do not take any personal medication whilst in hospital.

We will ensure you are fully aware of any changes to your medication prior to your discharge, if this has not happened, please ask us before you leave our care.

Services available

For more details, please see Onsite amenities.

Mobile phones

Mobiles can be used in most ward areas; we ask that you keep your phone on silent and respect the privacy and dignity of other patients.

Photographs must not be taken of other patients.

The staff will arrange electrical testing of your charger if you are in hospital for more than 24 hours.

Free unlimited access to Wi-Fi is available - please see Wifi.

Bedside TV and phone service

This is available in some wards.

Some of these services are free and include subtitles - please see the instructions on the units.

Friends and Family Questionnaire

To provide and improve our services we welcome yours and your family and friend’s feedback.

Please complete the feedback request text message that you will receive on discharge.

You can also ask for a feedback card during your stay or provide feedback online - please see Feedback.


Smoking is not permitted on any NHS site in England.

Smoking will not be permitted within any of our buildings or anywhere outside on our sites.

Smoking facilities will not be provided.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available whilst you are admitted.

Please be considerate of others when vaping in hospital grounds – this must not be inside any of the Hospital buildings.

We can also provide advice and support to assist you in stopping smoking.

Please see also Smoking.


If you are planning to visit a patient in hospital please check the appropriate section in Wards and services.

There may be visiting restrictions and face mask requirements due to COVID-19.

Download the leaflet

The information contained in this page is available as a downloadable leaflet: Welcome to the Great Western Hospital (PDF).

Further information

Please see: