COVID19 - important information
15 June 2020

COVID-19 - important information

Our focus is on ensuring we continue to deliver care to the people who need us.

We thank all our patients for their understanding at this time and every single member of SCFT staff who is going above and beyond in these challenging times.

Current advice if you or someone you know has symptoms

If you or someone you know is displaying symptoms of coronavirus please do not visit our clinics, hospitals or units.  This also applies to a GP surgery, pharmacy or acute hospital.

The latest advice on what to do is available on the NHS website.

Visit the NHS website for coronavirus advice


COVID-19 vaccination

The NHS is working extremely hard to get the vaccine to everyone who is eligible as quickly as possible. We have been making very good progress in the short period of time since the vaccination became available. However, we all need to recognise this is the largest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS and it will take time to get to everyone.

We understand that you are probably keen to get your jab as soon as possible. More information about how and where the vaccination is being offered is available on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website.

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccination please contact

What can I do to protect myself?

Your health, safety and wellbeing and that of our patients, communities and staff across our organisation remains our absolute priority. You can help prevent the spread of germs and infection by following PHE advice:

Follow the latest guidance on social distancing and self isolation to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Flu vaccinations

Everyone who is eligible for a flu jab is being encouraged to get one this year 

Flu vaccination is important because:

  • if you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu
  • if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
  • it'll help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus
  • If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It'll be effective at helping to prevent flu.

For more information about the flu vaccine and how to get it, contact your pharmacist or GP. More information is also available here

Visitor information and guidance

Due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Sussex we have taken the difficult decision to restrict visiting to our wards from 1 January 2021.

From 1 January onwards, essential visitors only will be allowed at our intermediate care units. This means:

  • Patients receiving end of life care – one visitor permitted at a time, unless assisting another. This must be arranged in advance
  • Patients requiring individual carer support – identified carers will be permitted to support those with care requirements

All visiting is at the discretion of the nurse in charge. Visiting must be prearranged by calling the relevant ICU

All visitors must be COVID-19 symptom free and not be self-isolating.

Visitors who are allowed to visit need to adhere to the following :

  • Do not come into hospital if you have COVID-19 symptoms or any health concerns
  • If you are in an at-risk group (anyone over 70, who has an underlying health condition, is pregnant or shielding) we are advising you not to visit
  • Come to the ward entrance and ring the bell so that staff can meet you
  • Bring as few bags, coats and other loose belongings with you as possible
  • Understand that we might have to ask you to leave the ward during your visit.  This may be because your relative or another patient requires treatment or if an emergency occurs
  • If the person you are visiting tests positive for Covid-19 within 48 hours after a visit, you will be considered by Test and Trace as a contact and required to isolate for 14 days.

We recommend that relatives use digital services such as Facetime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp to stay in touch with loved ones during their hospital stay, to minimise the risk of spreading or contracting the virus. Please see the section below for information. 

Supporting patients to stay in touch

We know this is a worrying time for relatives of patients so we are doing all we can to help you keep in touch with your loved ones.

We have made iPads available on all of our wards so that patients and families can stay in touch with a video call. You can prebook a time to speak to your loved one through our Patient Experience team by emailing or by calling them on 01273 242292.  The team will arrange for a designated member of the ward staff to contact you to arrange the date and time of the call and to be there to help your loved one with the technology and set the call up if needed. Please be assured that we are adhering to Infection Control guidance and making sure the iPads are cleaned before each use.

The Patient Experience team is also running a new personal messaging service that will enable friends and families to send messages, photos, grandchildren’s drawings etc by email so that we can arrange for them to be printed off and handed to our patients.  Please email or call 01273 242292 for further details.

When contacting us, please tell us the patients name, the hospital and ward they are staying on and a contact telephone number for you.

Face coverings in our buildings

We are encouraging everyone coming for an appointment or visiting our sites to wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth. We also expect patients and visitors to maintain social distancing and regularly wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.

Here is a guide to good hand hygiene when using alcohol run

Here is a guide to good hand hygiene when using soap and water

We know that for a few people, wearing a face covering might be difficult. This includes people with breathing problems, learning difficulties or a condition that would make wearing a face covering distressing. If there is a reason that you feel unable to wear a face covering, please do speak to a member of staff when you arrive at one of our sites.

We are asking people to bring and wear their own face coverings. If you do not have one, or you have forgotten yours, a member of staff can give you one.

Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a face covering.

Thank you for your understanding.

Appointments with us

We are following social distancing guidelines in all our clinics and units for the safety of our staff and patients.

Please do not come to an appointment if you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

When attending appointments with us, please help us to help you by:

  • Washing your hands before you arrive at your appointment and after you leave, or use the use hand sanitiser provided.
  • Please bring and wear your own face covering as we are recommending that these are used in our premises 
  • Maintaining social distancing in line with government guidelines.
  • Following any floor markings for one way systems (you might be asked to use different entrances and exits).
  • If you have a booked appointment, please aim to arrive five minutes before your appointment time. Please wait outside or in your car if we ask you to.
  • Only using chairs that are available and not chairs that are taped off.
  • Where possible, please attend appointments on your own to reduce the numbers of people in waiting areas. If you do need an advocate or carer we will always
    support your needs. We also understand there will be times you will need to bring your children with you to appointments or you will be accompanying children to appointments.
  • If you have a booked appointment, please aim to arrive five minutes before your appointment time. Please wait outside or in your car if we ask you to.

Here is a link to advice for our patients who receive care in their own homes

New NHS Diabetes Advice helpline 

NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a new helpline in response to disruption to normal diabetes services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response. 

The service is for adults living with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition and require immediate clinical advice. 

Whether you or a member of your household have caught the virus, or routine care has been disrupted, the helpline is available for immediate clinical advice to help you understand how to effectively manage your diabetes. 

You can access NHS Diabetes Advice via Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399, Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.

Advice for parents when a child is unwell or injured

Advice for parents when a child is unwell or injured

Information about shielding

Please find below the latest information for people who have been shielding

Changes to Shielding information - FAQS for patients

Mental health support

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust can provide you with free and confidential support via the Sussex Mental Healthline 

You can access the Sussex Mentalhealth line 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 0300 5000 101 

Additional useful information

Please head to the link below to read a message to all from the Sussex Health and Care System Leaders: