This page is being regularly updated with the latest NHS information on coronavirus (Covid-19) – to check when it was last updated scroll down to the bottom of the page, where there is also Trust-specific information.
Covid-19 measures remain in place at our hospitals
With cases of Covid-19 prevalent in the local community and to keep our patients and staff safe, Covid-19 measures remain in place at our hospitals. This means anyone in our hospitals will be required to continue wearing a face covering, to regularly wash and sanitise their hands, and maintain social distancing. Information on inpatient visiting is available below, and we ask all outpatients to attend their appointments alone where possible.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- a headache
- a sore throat
- a blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.
What to do if you have symptoms
Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and either:
- you have a high temperature
- you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities
Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.
Get help from NHS 111 if:
- you’re worried about your symptoms
- you’re not sure what to do
Call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Do not go to places like a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy.
What to do if you need medical help for another reason
If you need medical help not related to coronavirus, do not immediately go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
- For health information and advice, first use the NHS website or check your GP surgery website.
- For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. Only call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.
Read more advice about getting medical help.
Specific information for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust patients and visitors
The information below covers the following sections:
- What you can expect
- Minor injuries and illnesses
- Visiting inpatients at our hospitals
- Maternity guidance
- How to stay in touch with patients
- Advice for parents and carers of children
- Covid-19 vaccinations
- Offers of support
- Covid-19 deaths
- Play Your Part
What you can expect
In line with national guidance, everyone attending hospital must wear a face covering. Face masks will be provided at hospital entrances when necessary, along with bins to dispose of them safely when leaving.
The Trust is asking people not to wear gloves, but to ensure good handwashing or sanitising – with sanitiser available at entrances too.
People should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting their face covering on and after taking it off, and it is important that people don’t touch their face covering.
Staff working in the Trust’s hospitals will also be wearing face masks.
One-way systems and ‘footsteps’ on the floor have been introduced to maintain social distancing, as well as stickers on chairs to maintain social distancing between patients when waiting to be seen.
Some services have continued throughout the pandemic, many by using telephone or video consultations where medically appropriate, while others have had their appointments postponed to ensure that more of our staff can provide care to our sickest patients. You will be contacted if your appointment is postponed or changed from face-to-face to either a telephone or video consultation.
If you are asked to attend a face-to-face appointment, please attend alone wherever possible. Children should be accompanied by one adult only.
For more information about what to expect when attending your appointment please visit our outpatients webpage.
Minor injuries and illnesses
Patients with minor injuries or illnesses are asked to use the NHS111 online service or call 111 to determine whether they need hospital treatment and, if so, will be directed to the Urgent Treatment Centre at Welwyn Garden City’s New QEII Hospital (AL7 4HQ).
Lister Hospital in Stevenage is currently not treating patients with minor injuries or illnesses.
For more information, including examples of minor injuries and illnesses, visit the news section of our website
Visiting inpatients at our hospitals
We know how important it is for patients and visitors to see their loved ones, and so we have eased the visiting restrictions at our hospitals.
For more information, please visit our patient visiting page.
Following easing of restrictions, the Trust has returned to pre-pandemic support levels for women and people in our care. The following is now in place:
- Two named birthing partners are able to attend throughout the birthing process once in established labour or in a private area onour consultant-led unit (CLU) and midwife-led unit (MLU).
- Women can be accompanied by one nominated birth partner when admitted to the Dacre ward at Lister Hospital’s Diamond Jubilee Maternity Unit for an elective caesarean section, or when admitted for induction of labour up until 9pm in the evening.
- One named adult support partner can attend all other assessments, scans or prenatal appointments. (Where required partners may be requested to wait in alternative wait areas until called through.)
- Women can be joined on the antenatal (Dacre) ward between 9am and 9pm, and postnatal (Gloucester) ward between 10am and 8pm at Lister Hospital’s Diamond Jubilee Maternity Unit by one nominated birth partner.
No one else, including children, are able to attend at any time, until further notice.
Unfortunately we cannot offer overnight stays for birth partners (between 9pm and 9am) as our inpatient facilities are not suitable for this. This is a permanent situation and is not related to Covid-19.
You can read more information on our Covid-19 maternity restrictions page which explains in more detail what settings your nominated partner can attend
You can also find out more by reading our frequently asked questions page
If you have read these, but have further questions which haven’t been answered – please contact your community midwife.
Other ways to stay in touch with patients
East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust is offering a service to help connect families with their loved ones who are being treated in hospital.
Stay in touch is an online form where families can leave messages and photos for patients at Lister Hospital, Stevenage, and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Northwood. These messages are printed and delivered to patients on weekdays, Monday to Friday.
More information can be found here on the Stay in touch webpage.
Tablets are also being used so patients can see their loved ones by video call.
Advice for parents and carers of children
The safety of our patients is our primary concern, whether they are young or old.
In the current circumstances, children should only attend hospital if they are patient or are one of two visitors to one of our adult inpatients. More information can be found on our patient visiting webpage.
We understand that this can be difficult if no other childcare alternatives are available, such as for single parents, or in the case of end of life.
We appreciate some children aged five years and under, or those with behavioural and learning difficulties, may find it difficult to wear a face mask or covering.
Children aged five years and older should be able to tolerate a face mask or covering and be encouraged to wear them. Older children are also expected to wear a face mask or covering when they come to hospital.
Parents and guardians should encourage and support children to wear face masks or coverings prior to coming to hospital.
All children aged under 11 years wearing a face mask or covering must be supervised at all times.
You can find more information and advice about health problems your child may be experiencing and what to do on the Healthier Together website.
The vaccination hub at Lister Hospital in Stevenage is now closed to the public. If you are eligible for a vaccine, you can still receive, this, either at a large vaccination centre, from a centre run by GPs, and from a small number of pharmacies.
To find out how to book your jab, visit our Covid-19 vaccination page here.
Offers of support
Many local people have kindly offered support to our healthcare professionals with donations of food or other items. While we appreciate these offers, we need to ensure we are complying with the appropriate guidelines to keep both donors and our staff safe. Please email any offers of goods and services to email@example.com – a member of the team will be in touch.
Covid-19 deaths (as of 23 March 2023)
The total number of deaths announced by the Trust is 865. For more information visit the NHS England website.
Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones.
Play Your Part
Organisations across Hertfordshire including our Trust are appealing to the public to play their part in preventing outbreaks of Covid-19 in the county with a campaign that encourages people to take personal responsibility for protecting their community by following four simple actions:
- Wash your hands
- Stay socially distanced
- Wear a face covering when required
- Get tested if you get symptoms and stay at home
Please play your part to keep each other safe.