Information on coronavirus also known as COVID-19

Posted on Friday 22nd May 2020

This page provides you with an update, including actions we are taking to care for patients and to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

Reports of a possible COVID-19 related condition emerging in children

We know you may be concerned due to recent reports of a possible COVID-19 related condition emerging in children, often being referred to as an inflammatory disease.

Medical professionals have been made aware of possible links in a small number of cases so that they are able to give children and young people the right care as quickly as possible.

The advice to parents and carers remains the same. If you are worried about your child for whatever reason:

  • contact NHS 111 or your family doctor for urgent advice
  • dial 999 in an emergency
  • if a professional tells you to go to hospital, please go
  • Emergency Departments are open for those who need urgent care.

We’re still here for your family.

Changes to planned appointments and admissions

We have changed all our clinic appointments to a telephone or video call wherever possible. We are seeing a small number of children and young people at the hospital or community centres for urgent appointments. Some of our appointments have been postponed.

We are continuing to offer urgent and emergency operations and procedures, but many planned admissions have been postponed at this time.

The team caring for your child will be in touch in advance to let you know about the arrangements that have been made for you. Please understand that we have put these measures in place to keep both your child and others safe. For any postponed appointments or admissions, it may not be possible to confirm when it will go ahead at this stage.

If your child has an appointment at the hospital, please note the changes to our visiting policy (below) allowing only one parent or carer to accompany them.

If you need to get in touch with the team caring for your child, this will be via the usual routes unless you hear otherwise. You can find contact details for our services on our website. You can also call us about appointments on 020 7188 4000 (Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm) and admissions on 020 7188 9098 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm). Our teams are dealing with an increased amount of contacts at this time but they will do their best to get back to you as soon as possible. 

We are regularly reviewing the situation to ensure that care is given to those who need it most, with the safety of our families and staff being our top priority.

Emergency department

Our emergency department (A&E) at St Thomas’ Hospital is open as usual.

If you are in need of urgent care, please continue to attend.

If you have an emergency call 999. 

During the current situation, it can be confusing to know what to do but it is important that you seek help when you need it. Read our guidance to help you to work out how to seek help (PDF 156Kb).

Please do not visit if you or your child have symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature
  • new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you or your child have any of these symptoms, please do not come to the hospital or a community site. Current NHS advice is to stay at home for seven days and not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If anyone in your household is showing symptoms, you should remain at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms.

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 7 days.

All the latest information can be found at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Visiting restrictions

To reduce the spread of infection, we are currently restricting visitors to the hospital and our community sites.

For appointments, only one parent or carer should accompany their child.

For overnight stays, only one parent or carer may visit at a time. We are allowing two named parents or carers to visit but one at a time.

Siblings, other family members and friends will not be allowed to visit. We ask that they do not attend the hospital or community site. This will help us to minimise the number of people onsite and reduce the risk of spreading infection, to keep you and your family safe.

There may be exceptional circumstances to this, which we will discuss with you on an individual basis. Thank you for your cooperation.

Services with special arrangements

Some of our services have special arrangements at this time. Please visit the following website pages to find out more:

  • Cleft - for orthodontic or dental emergencies

Preparing for surgery 

We are offering some elective surgery at this time based on clinical need. Please be aware that there are currently special arrangements for surgery to ensure everyone’s safety.

Our leaflet, self-isolation guidance for surgery at Evelina London (PDF 523Kb), contains important instructions, which need to be followed or your child’s surgery may need to be cancelled.

If you have any questions, please speak to your surgical team.

Specialist advice for vulnerable patientsincluding shielding

Some people have been identified as being at increased risk of severe illness and require specialist advice based on their condition. The following services have sent specialist information to parents and carers regarding their child. NHS England have now extended the recommended period for families ‘shielding’ their child to 30 June but this is being closely monitored. The Government is supporting those at highest clinical risk in need of essential supplies. Please go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable to register your current situation, even if you do not need additional help right now. You’ll be asked for your NHS number in order to register. If you have already registered there is no need to register again. If you cannot sign up on the website, you can call the Government’s dedicated helpline on 0800 028 8327.

If you have not received a letter and think you should have, please contact the relevant service and let them know using their usual contact details which can be found via the links below.

Patients with congenital heart disease can visit the British Congenital Cardiac Association website for more information.

Our kidney patients can find further advice on the Kidney Care UK website

Important general advice for your family 

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

For more information and support

All the latest information can be found at the NHS website and the official UK Government website. This includes information about the virus and what to do if you develop symptoms.

Read tips for families from our Evelina London sleep team.

Read ‘Coronavirus, a book for children’(PDF), a children's book created with help from Dr Sarah Carman, a clinical psychologist working in neurosciences at Evelina London. It has been published by Nosy Crow and is illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Information for children is available on the BBC Newsround website, including specific advice if children are feeling upset by the news.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have provided advice for parents and carers to support with children feeling stressed by the coronavirus situation (PDF).

Further information about the services at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is available on the Guy’s and St Thomas’ website.

Treating patients with coronavirus

Our Trust is treating patients with coronavirus. Our experienced team is well prepared for this. All patients with known or suspected coronavirus are being treated as per Public Health England instructions on isolation and infection prevention and control.

You will find the latest information on avoiding catching or spreading coronavirus on the NHS website  www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. Please also follow the advice of our staff when you are in our hospital.

©  Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
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