Inpatient guide

For many people coming into hospital is a new experience and we will do everything to make sure you feel cared for, confident and safe during your stay.

If possible, arrange for a relative or friend to bring you to hospital, someone who can stay with you until you are settled on the ward and take away any clothes, property and valuables you will not need.

 For planned procedure you may be asked to go to Coulsdon 1 - our elective admission ward.

During your hospital stay we hope your care meets your expectations. Information about you will always be kept confidential. It may only be used by staff who need to see your records because they are directly involved in your treatment and care.

Our staff

Every member of staff and our volunteers wear a Trust identity badge which displays our logo, their name, job title and photograph. Staff who are involved in your care will introduce themselves to you and they will ask you how you wish to be addressed whilst you are in hospital.

Please ask the doctor or nurse in charge if:

- You are in pain or discomfort at any time.

- You want to know anything about your condition or treatment. 

- You wish the ward staff to answer questions from relatives and carers about your treatment and progress. 

Your consent

If your treatment involves an operation or certain other procedures you will be asked to sign a consent form. We will give you all the necessary details before we ask you to sign a consent form. It is your choice whether or not to give your permission for any treatment or operation. If at any time you are unsure about any part of your treatment or would like more information please ask to speak to your doctor or nurse.

Once you have given you have given your consent you have the right to withdraw it at any time.

You will find more information at your bedside during your stay.

Special requirements

If you are cared for at home by a relative, friend or carer, we would encourage them to talk to the nurses who are involved in your care as soon as you are admitted so that they can be made aware of any special requirements that you may have to help plan your safe discharge.

For more information see Support for patients, carers and visitors.

What to bring with you

You may need the following:

  • Night clothes, toiletries and personal towel

  • Books or magazine
  • Small amount of money
  • Notepaper, envelope, pens and stamps

Please bring any tablets or medicines that you are taking, in their original bottles or packets, and make sure that you tell the doctor, nurse or pharmacist about them.

Any questions?

When you are on the ward you will find more information about the hospital both on noticeboards and in a folder beside your bed, but if you have any more questions please ask any member of staff on the ward. 

Hourly nurse round

Every hour, a nurse will come to your bedside and ask you how you are feeling. This is a good time to talk about any worries or concerns you may have and you can arrange to speak to either a senior nurse or doctor if you want to talk more about any aspect of your care.

Help for non-English speakers

We can arrange face to face interpreters for any patient who needs one. Please let a member of staff know if you wish to use this service so arrangements can be made.

Visiting times

As part of our continued commitment to protecting our staff and our patients from COVID-19, most wards allow visiting between the hours of 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm for one consistent visitor. Further information can be found here.
All our wards offer a “protected mealtimes” system where disruptions and distractions during the main mealtimes are kept to a minimum to allow patients time to eat undisturbed. If you have visitors during mealtimes they will be asked to either help you with your meal if you need assistance, or leave the ward until the meal is over.

Food services

A full and varied menu is available, including vegetarian and ethnic meals and you will be able to choose your meals from a menu card shortly before each meal is served. Please ask the ward host or hostess if you have any questions about what food can be provided, but if you have any special dietary needs e.g. gluten free, low potassium, or milk free it is helpful to let the Dietetic Department on 020 8401 3096 let them know before you come to hospital so arrangements can be made.

For patients who are well enough to get dressed and leave the ward, the Oasis restaurant is situated on the first floor of the London Wing (blue zone) immediately at the top of the escalators. The restaurant serves meals, hot and cold drinks and snacks throughout the day, and is open from 7am – 8pm (weekends until 6pm). Appropriate clothing and footwear should be worn by everyone (no nightwear).

Personal property and mobile phones

Whilst we are caring for you we are not able to provide a general property management service. We will not accept liability for loss and damage to your property and belongings unless they have been handed over for safe keeping to our staff and a receipt has been issued to you or your relative.
We strongly advise that you think carefully about what property you bring into hospital. Valuable property which we do hold on your behalf will not be immediately accessible.

It would be advisable to ask family or friends to take valuable or sentimental property home rather than keep them at the hospital. Any retained property will be kept for only three months before being disposed of.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones can be used in most areas of our hospitals – please look out for signs which indicate where mobile phones and other electronic devices are restricted. If you are unsure, please check with staff to see if you can use mobile phones in the ward or area you are in.
Mobile phones can be a nuisance to other patients, visitors or staff, we ask you to please switch your phone to ‘silent’ while in clinical areas wherever possible and to hold any mobile phone conversations away from sleeping patients or treatment areas.

Where patients or visitors are using devices to watch or listen to recordings, please use earphones at all times. We request that use be limited to avoid disturbing other patients.

Filming and photography

We understand that mobile phones and other devices are essential to maintain communication with friends, family and loved ones. Please remember that patients and visitors are responsible and personally liable for their actions and we ask that if patients or visitors wish to take photographs during their stay for any reason, care and consideration for the privacy and dignity of other patients, visitors and staff should be given at all times.

Photographs and recordings made on the hospital site should not capture other patients, visitors or staff, unless you have their explicit consent. If a member of staff has reason to believe that inappropriate images or recordings have been made without explicit consent of those involved, we may ask to check your devices and ask you to delete images or social media posts. Refusal to do so may result in further action being taken.

Please remember that any comments or social media posts which are discriminatory, racist or defamatory in nature will be reported to the police for investigation.

For obvious reasons we restrict filming and photography on our children's ward - please ask the ward staff for advice.

Patients and visitors using the Trust’s free wi-fi service must conform to the terms and conditions of use.


Flowers are welcome on most of our wards as long as they are in oasis (foam) or any other small sealed arrangement. Small potted plants are also welcome.

No cut flowers in vases are allowed at the bedside as they could be spilled onto beds, patients, staff or medical equipment. There is also a very slight risk of infection from organisms which grow in water if it is left too long.

On a very few wards, for the safety and comfort of the patients, no flowers are allowed at all. This is because the bedside space is needed for equipment and staff access. These wards are:

  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Cardiac Care Unit
  • High Dependency Unit
  • Acute Medical Unit (AMU)
  • Accident & Emergency (A&E)
  • Heathfield 2

Additionally, Heathfield 2 ward is where people with chest problems are treated and their condition may be made worse by pollen or other plant matter.

No smoking

Smoking is NOT allowed on the hospital premises and the sale of tobacco is not permitted in any of the shops in the main reception area. 
Alcohol, recreational drugs and tobacco products should not be brought into the hospital.

The Barnabas Worship Centre

The hospital chapel is open daily for peace and prayer and is used by people of all faiths and none. Holy Communion service is held each Sunday at 10am.

More informtation on our Chaplaincy and spiritual care can be found here.

The Adult Inpatient Survey about care taking place in October and November 2021

If you stay overnight in our hospital you may later receive the confidential Adult Inpatient Survey. It is a great opportunity for you to tell us about your stay and help us continue improving our care. If you would like to find out more, or to opt out of the survey, you can click here