Face Coverings

Wearing face coverings when coming to hospital

An image of a poster concerning government guidance for when to wear face coverings


All patients and visitors must wear a face covering when in hospital to help us stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

People infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.

In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures in our hospitals keep visitors, patients, and staff safe.

From Monday 15 June 2020 you will need to wear a face covering when you come to hospital as a visitor or outpatient.

All visitors will be expected to keep a safe distance from our patients, other visitors and staff. Please also regularly wash your hands with soap and water or with the hand gel provided.

If you have a dry cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste, please do not visit at all. If you are concerned that you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) please stay at home and visit www.nhs.uk to find out what to do if if you are concerned.


What does this mean for me?

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus. We also need your help to keep our patients, visitors in hospital and healthcare workers safe.

If you are coming to hospital as a visitor or for planned outpatient care, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.


Where can I get a face covering?

We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to hospital, please see a member of staff on arrival and we will provide you with one.

Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website.

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

If you do not have a face covering when you arrive at the hospital, please ask a member of staff – but please be aware we only have a limited supply.


What should I do if I need support?

For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival. 

If you are a deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include the use of clear masks where possible, as well as visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.

All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the hospital setting.


What should I do if I’m shielding?

If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.


Further information

If you have any questions, please ask a member of our staff. For further information, please contact PALS on 020 8401 3210 or email ch-tr.pals@nhs.net so that they can support you.