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Coronavirus: information and advice

This page provides links to national guidance and information on the changes we are making in our trust to protect our patients, visitors and staff.

For information about Coronavirus, the latest government restrictions and social distancing, visit the NHS website, click here or visit the website, here.

Face coverings

While the Government roadmap plans to remove measures like this from everyday life from Monday, July 19, it’s vital that the public can be confident about accessing or visiting local healthcare services safely.

That’s why, even after Monday 19 July 2021, anyone attending our hospitals and community settings must continue to wear a face-covering at all times to protect patients, visitors and staff.

It follows evidence from the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that face coverings could help reduce transmission risk among those suffering from coronavirus but not showing symptoms.

Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit. They are different to face masks in that they can be homemade, made of cloth, and be reusable. See here for details on how to make your own.

We urge you to bring your own face covering, whether bought or home-made, however masks will be available if you do not have one.

Please do not remove it unless advised to do so by a medical professional. Try to ensure you have no gaps in the sides of your face covering and avoid touching it.

Alongside wearing a face covering, people attending a hospital or community setting are asked to:

  • Wash their hands often and on entering and leaving the premises, use hand sanitiser if soap and water is not available
  • Follow social distancing measures
  • Adhere to guidance issued regarding attendance and/or visiting
  • Come in alone, wherever possible


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of our patients and staff, visiting in our hospitals is being kept to a minimum. We are sorry to have to continue to do this but this hopefully helps your loved one and other patients feel safe in our care.

We understand visiting is important so have arrangements in place to allow controlled visiting on our wards and departments, except for surgical wards which need to remain ‘COVID light’.

One nominated close family member may visit for up to one hour a day between 10am and 7pm, which must be pre- booked in advance. This person is not interchangeable. We need all visitors to keep to their hour to maintain social distancing and give all patients the opportunity to have their nominated person visit.


We ask you to take a rapid lateral flow test at home prior to each planned visit and ensure a
negative result. You will not be refused to visit if you have not completed a test, but we need
your support to help us keep our visitors, patients and staff safe. The trust do not provide
lateral flow kits. The testing kits can be ordered online at The kits can be sent to your home, collected from a public testing centre, or pharmacy. Find out more here.


If you are the nominated person, when arranging your visit you will need to provide your contact details which we are required to keep a record of for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.

In addition to this, when visiting you are reminded to expect:

  •  to wash your hands at the hospital entrance and wear a mask when you enter the hospital
  • to wear personal protective equipment (PPE)  and observe social distancing
  • you should not visit if you feel unwell, have been asked to self-isolate or believe you may have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19

Be assured visiting is always facilitated in the following circumstances:

  • For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill and in the late stages of their illness
  • For birthing partners in maternity units
  • For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit and special care baby unit (SCBU)
  • At the discretion of the nurse in charge for long-stay patients and those with dementia

For more guidance when visiting click here.

For more information on maternity visiting, you can visit the web page here or read the guidance here.

Keeping in touch

Friends and relatives will be able to stay connected to their loved ones in hospital by ringing our patient phone line, on 0191 293 4306, available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

There is also the opportunity for friends and relatives to send in pictures and photographs to our patients, by filling out this form, and emailing it to

In addition, our patients can make unlimited phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles free of charge via our bedside units to help stay in touch with loved ones.

Non-urgent appointments and operations

We are contacting our patients with non-urgent planned operations and routine outpatient appointments to let them know their appointment is postponed. Emergency admissions, cancer treatment and other urgent clinical care will remain unaffected and continue to go ahead.

We are contacting patients directly – there is no need to call us.

Maternity care during the coronavirus outbreak

We are continuing to do all we can to support pregnant women as this time and have set up a COVID maternity helpline on 07823 907484.

This is for pregnant women who are booked to deliver with us.

The line is open 9am-4pm Monday to Friday and we will answer questions relating to pregnancy, care and visiting.

For clinical advice, women should continue to contact the hospital where they are due to deliver.

Find out more information here.

Chaplaincy support

From Wednesday 1 April, there will now be dedicated chaplaincy telephone lines for our patients to phone a chaplain from their mobile or their bedside phone in hospital.

A chaplain will aim to receive calls and check for messages between 10:30am and 2pm. Please contact the chaplaincy service on either 01670 529690 or 0191 2934268.

Social distancing

We are complying with social distancing restrictions by having ‘takeaway only’ in our Hospital Volunteer Service shops. Our canteens are closed to all members of the public however remain open for our staff. We have marked the floor in order for everyone to remain 2 metres away from one another, and all food is packed in bags to minimise contact.


We are currently appealing to people who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times to come forward.

We’re calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.

Find out more here.


Information on coronavirus in additional formats and languages.

Public Health England has published:

Easy read guides on:

Guidance in other languages including Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi and Urdu:


For guidance in British Sign Language (BSL):

Signhealth is producing videos explaining the latest information and health advice in BSL. New videos are being uploaded as information becomes available.
Daily updates from the Government are also available with BSL interpretation at 5pm on BBC 107 or 231 and on BBC iPlayer.

Advice for the parents of deaf children can be found via the National Deaf Children’s Society.

For blind people and people with sight loss:

The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) is publishing it’s latest Covid-19 news and guides.


Useful Coronavirus Resources 

This video is for people with learning disabilities to help them understand about the tier system in place in England.  It describes what you can and can’t do.

This video is for people with learning disabilities to help them understand why wearing a face mask is important, how to find a face mask that suits them and how to get used to wearing it.

This video is for family members or carers of people with learning disabilities to help them understand why wearing a face mask is important, how to find a face mask that suits the person they support and how to help them  get used to wearing it.

Hand hygiene

It is essential that everyone keeps good hand hygiene, as it is one of the best ways to keep yourself and others protected against Coronavirus. We have installed handwashing facilities at our hospital entrances and we urge people to use these before entering our buildings.

You should wash your hands when you:

  • Get home or into work
  • Blow your nose, sneeze or cough
  • Eat or handle food

Using the correct technique, for 20 seconds, with soap and water.

For more information, watch the video below:

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