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“The cleaning staff worked very hard and I found the ward was kept spotlessly clean, the meals provided were of a very high standard”.  Mr GW 

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Patient and visitor information

During your stay

Who will care for me in hospital?Show [+]Hide [-]

The Healthcare Team – In addition to your consultant, you will be assigned a nurse who will discuss your needs, provide advice and assistance and plan your care with you and your doctor. The doctors who work closely with your consultant will treat you on a day-to-day basis. Please ask the team caring for you if you would like to discuss your care or have any questions answered.

A number of other professionals may also be involved in your care, for example the physiotherapist, occupational therapist, pharmacist or dietitian. All staff wear identification badges so that you know who you are talking with.

Students – As this is a major teaching hospital we may ask if you are willing to contribute to student training; this may involve students being present during your consultation or treatments. All students are supervised by senior members of staff. You do not have to take part. If you prefer not to, please tell the medical or nursing staff - this will in no way affect your treatment.

What is the routine on the ward?Show [+]Hide [-]


Meals and hot drinks are served during the day. We are able to cater for most dietary requirements. Please inform the nursing staff of any dietary needs or food allergies. You can choose your meals from a selected menu and there are snack boxes available outside of usual meal times. Please note that we operate a ward food hygiene policy to ensure the highest standards of food hygiene and safety for all our patients. Please do not eat certain foods prepared outside the hospital during your stay, for example, sandwiches, cooked rice or meat, fresh or synthetic cream, eggs and take-away foods.

You can find more details about food in our hospitals.

Relatives' enquiries 

Could you please nominate one person to make enquiries on your condition and they can then tell other members of your family and your friends.

What type of accommodation is available?Show [+]Hide [-]

We aim to ensure that you are cared for in the most appropriate environment. You will be nursed in a single-sex bay or a cubicle separated from the opposite sex. There are occasions where, in order to accommodate the specific needs of seriously ill emergency patients, it is necessary to move patients from one ward to another or to move them from the cubicle to which they were admitted. If we do have to move you, you will remain under the care of the same medical team. You may of course be moved to other wards during your stay in response to your own medical needs.

You may be able to occupy and pay for an amenity bed (single room). These beds are very limited and availability depends upon how busy the ward is. It is not possible to book one of these in advance. You should ask your nurse on the day of admission if one of these rooms is available or if one may become available during your stay.

Can my relatives stay overnight?Show [+]Hide [-]

There are a limited number of rooms available for the relatives of patients who are critically ill. We also provide facilities for the parents of sick children. Please ask the nurse in charge of your ward, who will be able to advise you.

What if I am having an operation?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you are being admitted for an operation, you will have the opportunity to discuss this with clinical staff. The staff will explain the risks and benefits of the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form. Please ask the staff about anything that you feel uncertain about.

We cannot always tell you precisely when your operation will happen and, in certain cases, the original time may have to be postponed. We try to avoid this if at all possible as we understand the distress and inconvenience that this can cause.

How can I make sure I receive safe, clean and personalised care?Show [+]Hide [-]

Our staff work to make sure that every patient receives safe, clean and personalised care every time they come to our hospitals.

If at any time you think your care is not safe, clean or personalised, you should raise your concerns.

Find out about our HELP Service to raise your concerns.


What about confidentiality of my information?Show [+]Hide [-]

We keep confidential all personal information, which you provide about yourself and your medical condition. All of our staff have a legal duty with respect to the confidentiality of your medical record. In order to provide you with the best care possible some of the information will need to be shared with other care professionals in the Trust and community, such as your GP; and only where appropriate other care organisations, such as social services. All of this is limited to a need-to-know basis.

You have a right to request, in writing, for additional restrictions to be placed on who has access to your information. We will always attempt to meet your request, however please be aware that any restrictions you request may have an impact on the level of care that we can provide.

How will you use my information?Show [+]Hide [-]

We will use your information to determine the best possible care for you. We may also use it for:

  • clinical audit that reviews the current standards of patient care in the Trust against accepted best practice.
  • research that investigates new treatments and procedures so that patient care is continually improved.
  • teaching of medical, nursing and other staff.
  • anonymised information will be used by the NHS at a local and national level to support the management of the NHS.

What about photographs and videos?Show [+]Hide [-]

As part of your treatment some kind of photographic record or video may be made. This will be kept as part of your medical record. The photograph/s or video will only be seen by those involved in providing your care or those who check the quality of care provided.  Your permission will be obtained if the record or video is used anonymously for any other purpose such as teaching or medical research.

Can I see my health care records?Show [+]Hide [-]

You have a right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to obtain access to your records. In order to do this, you need to write to the Trust Medical Records Department. On payment of a fee, the Trust will provide you with access to your records. Access can be by way of copies or viewing notes with a member of the medical records team. If you have any clinical questions regarding your health care records, we will take reasonable steps to enable you to review your records with a member of the clinical staff in order to explain any terms or notes.

Will I be involved in any research?Show [+]Hide [-]

Research into new treatments and better ways of providing healthcare is also a very important part of our work.

Research is designed to examine whether there are better and more effective methods, which will improve treatment.

We may ask you if you would agree to participate in a research project during your stay. You do not have to take part and you have the right to decline or to withdraw from the research at any time even if you do initially agree.

You may be coming into hospital for an operation during which a diseased tissue or a diseased organ may be removed. Your doctor will have explained this to you. After the operation, this tissue or organ will be sent to the pathological laboratory for special examination. Sometimes only part of the tissue or organ that has been removed for clinical reasons is required by the laboratory. It is possible that you may be asked if some of the tissue may be used for research, usually to find out the causes of the disease for which the tissue was removed. We hope that you will consent to this, but if you have any questions or difficulties with this, please discuss it with your consultant.

What else do I need to know for my admission?Show [+]Hide [-]

Fire Procedure – The fire alarms are tested at the following times:

  • Freeman Hospital – 10.30am every Tuesday
  • Royal Victoria Infirmary – 9.15am every Monday in Victoria Wing and 9.15am every Wednesday in Leazes Wing.

The staff will tell you what you need to do if the alarm sounds at any other time.

Cleanliness – The Trust takes this matter very seriously. Good handwashing practice is expected and, where necessary alcohol hand rubs are provided for patients, staff and visitors to use.

If you have any comments regarding cleanliness, you should speak to the nurse in charge or matron of your area. We ask that you report anything that you feel unsatisfactory as soon as possible so that this can be attended to and ask for your help in maintaining the environment.  Click here to find out more about what we do and how you can help to keep our hospitals clean.

Social Security – Most Social Security benefits are reduced during time spent in hospital. If your stay is longer than four weeks, you will be asked to complete a form identifying the benefits you receive, which will be passed on to your Benefits Office. You should therefore let your Department of Social Security office know as soon as you are aware of your admission to hospital. Please refer to your Order Book for appropriate instructions.

Copying letters to patients – As part of The NHS Plan a commitment was proposed that patients should be able to request and receive copies of letters shared between doctors. This enables you to receive copies of letters produced between health professionals i.e. your GP and hospital doctor to help understand your condition and treatment. This process will be discussed with you during your hospital attendance.

Wristbands – When you are in hospital, it is essential to wear a wristband (also known as an identity band) with accurate details about you on it. It ensures that staff can identify you correctly and give you the right care.

A member of staff should put a wristband on you as soon as you are admitted to hospital and you should wear this throughout your stay. If you do not have a wristband, please ask a member of staff for one. If it comes off or is uncomfortable, ask a member of staff to replace it.

Smoking – The Trust operates a ‘Smokefree’ Environment in the interest of patients, visitors and staff. Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the site. Should you wish to smoke, you must do so outside the hospital grounds and inform ward staff that you are leaving the ward or department. Patients wishing to smoke outside of the hospital, do so at their own risk. Support and information can be provided in the ward should you wish to ‘stop’ smoking. There is also a wide range of stop smoking services in GP practices, pharmacies and community venues where you can obtain free support and nicotine replacement therapy at prescription costs.

Telephone 0800 1690169 for the number of your local stop smoking service or call (0191) 219 5111 if you live in Newcastle or North Tyneside.

Mobile Phones – Please ensure that you switch off mobile phones when entering the hospital as these can interfere with important monitoring equipment used within the hospital. Please be aware that some of the staff carry portable phones that resemble mobile phones, but these are safe to use throughout the hospital.

Building and works – Our hospitals are undergoing a major redevelopment programme. From time to time the essential building works will disrupt routes of access and parking facilities. We will try to minimise any inconvenience.

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