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Preventing infection

Here we explain how you can help prevent and control infection when you come to our hospitals.

Wear a face mask in clinical areas where indicated

Face masks are required in a small number of clinical areas, specifically those areas treating patients who are a greater risk from COVID-19 infection (i.e. patients who have a weakened immune system). Patients and visitors are no longer required to wear masks in other areas, but if you choose to wear a mask, we fully support your right to do so.

Areas where masks are required will be clearly marked with signage, pictured here.

Patients

  • Wash your hands regularly and carefully with soap and water or use a alcohol hand rub:
    • whenever your hands are dirty
    • before and after eating your meals, using either soap and water or wipes
    • after using the toilet.
  • Let staff know immediately if you have diarrhoea, vomiting, or if you think may have a respiratory infection such as COVID-19 or flu
  • Bring your own personal toiletries with you, such as flannels, sponges, moist hand wipes and razors, and do not allow others to use them.
  • Ensure you have regular washes, showers or baths, where available. Please ask our staff if you need any assistance.
  • Avoid using bars of soap – use the liquid soap we provide instead.
  • Expect staff to have washed their hands before having direct contact with you.
  • Please remember that you can ask our staff to wash their hands. They will be happy to do so, as your health is our priority.
  • Keep your room or bed space tidy and uncluttered, so it can be cleaned more easily.
  • Expect your room to be cleaned every day.
  • Expect to have fresh bed linen at least once a week.
  • Tell the nurse in charge if you are concerned about cleanliness.

Visitors

  • Plan your visits so there are only two people at the bedside at any one time. See the Visiting page for more information on visiting times.
  • Do not come to the hospital if they feel unwell, have a temperature, or have had diarrhoea or vomiting within the last 48 hours.
  • Wash your hands before entering a ward. Wash basins and hand gel are available throughout the hospital.
  • Use the public toilets, not the patient toilets on the wards. This reduces the risk of cross-infection.
  • Sit on a chair and not a hospital bed.
  • Do not bring in latex balloons, flowers and plants. These can be an infection risk or cause an allergic reaction for other patients and staff.
  • Wear protective equipment, such as face masks, aprons and gloves, if asked to do so.

Further information

For more information about specific infections, see our leaflets on:

If you have any concerns or questions, contact the ward manager of the ward or area you – or your relative or friend – are being treated in. Alternatively, contact the Infection Control Team on 020 3299 4374 or [email protected].