Visiting restrictions during coronavirus, including policies around compassionate visiting and virtual visits.

Last updated: 13 October 2020

Visiting restrictions


A limited number of visitors to our hospitals are permitted, provided visitors adhere to our visiting guidelines.

Adult wards at our hospitals

These restrictions apply to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) and 7 community hospitals in the county:

Visiting hours at Cheltenham General Hospital, Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and the Community Hospitals are restricted to 2pm to 6pm, 7 days a week:

  • Only 1 visitor (a close family member or carer) may visit for 1 hour per day (ideally the same visitor)
  • In wards that are 4 or 6 bedded bays, visitors will need to be staggered to enable social distancing, so times will be allocated by ward staff. 

Exceptions may be made for relatives collecting patients who have been discharged, or relatives who wish to visit patients at the end of their life. You will need to phone the ward and speak to the nurse in charge to arrange any visiting allowance before coming to any of our hospitals or inpatient units.

At present, in the Emergency Department at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and the MIIU at Cheltenham General, adult patients may be brought to reception but will be required to attend the department alone once they have been seen and are awaiting treatment and/ or admission. If for compassionate or practical reasons, a companion, carer or relative needs to stay, please speak to the nurse in charge.


We have closed visiting to our maternity wards during the coronavirus response, with the following exceptions from Friday 18 September:

  • 1 other person can accompany you during certain antenatal appointments, like scans
  • 1 person may accompany you during the induction of labour
  • 1 birth partner and an essential visitor may accompany you during labour
  • your birth partner and 1 nominated visitor can visit you after you have given birth

Find out more about changes to our maternity service during coronavirus.

Maternity triage

We have implemented the following restrictions on visitors to maternity triage, in order to keep everyone at our hospitals safe:


  • wear a surgical face mask over your mouth and nose at all times

  • use alcohol hand rub on entry and exit

  • remain within the allocated bed space


  • do not enter triage if you cannot wear a mask due to a medical exemption

  • do not visit the hospital if you have symptoms of coronavirus

  • do not visit the hospital if you have been asked to self-isolate or have had a positive COVID-19 test

  • do not visit the hospital if you are a contact of someone with coronavirus

  • do not wander around the triage area


You may be asked to leave the maternity triage at any point. If you are asked to leave, please do so quickly and with courtesy to the person asking.

Children in our hospitals

The children's ward is open for visiting, with the following restrictions:

  • visiting is restricted to parents and carers only
  • only 2 visitors are allowed per child at any one time
  • no siblings or other family members should visit
  • only 2 visitors are allowed on the neonatal ward at any one time

This handy guide from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health gives you at-a-glance information about symptoms to look out for and when to bring your child to hospital

Compassionate visiting

Visiting may be possible for those most important to a patient who is critically ill or dying, as long as:

  • you and members of your household do not have symptoms of coronavirus, like a fever or cough
  • you have not been told to self-isolate or shield for health reasons

The nurse in charge is responsible for deciding if you are allowed to visit, and access will only be given to a maximum of 2 visitors.

Visiting guidelines

If you are allowed to visit the hospital:


  • wear a face covering if you visit our hospitals

  • wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on entering and leaving the ward

  • wear appropriate personal protective equipment if you are asked to, like an apron, gloves or a mask

  • follow social distancing rules and keep a 2 metre distance when you visit with respect to other patients, visitors and staff

  • decontaminate personal devices, like phones, with wipes provided by our staff before and after you visit the ward

  • stay in the patient’s room or at their bedside at all times


  • do not visit the hospital if you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath

  • do not visit the hospital if you have symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting

  • do not visit any other care area in the ward or hospital

  • do not use any toilet facilities, other than the one designated to you by ward staff

  • do not access food areas, which are currently closed to anyone except staff

You must be prepared to self-isolate in line with national guidance, as you may have been exposed to the virus during the period of access to the ward.

Please speak to the nurse in charge for a carer’s permit for parking.

If there is anything else that you feel will make things easier for the patient or for you then please do ask the clinical team.

If you cannot visit

We appreciate it can be distressing to be unable to visit your loved one in hospital. As a result, we have introduced a number of measures to help and support you at this time:

  • All wards in our hospitals have access to iPads, so if you are unable to visit you can still have contact with your relative. Staff are happy to support this with the consent of the patient where possible. Please contact the ward to arrange this.
  • If you wish to email photographs, letters or messages to your family member, please email them to They will be printed and taken to your relative.

For more information on any of the above including patients being treated at our hospitals for coronavirus, please contact our Patient Support Service Hub on 0800 019 3282 or It’s open 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Please choose 1 family member to be the point of contact for the hospital. They should then share information with other relatives and friends.

If you wish to collect dirty laundry, you can arrange a collection slot by calling 07813 400094.

Bereavement collections

Relatives, carers or friends can collect items by calling 0300 422 8880 to arrange a collection slot by appointment only.

Slots are available Monday, Wednesday Friday mornings at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, and Tuesday and Friday mornings at Cheltenham General Hospital.


For more information about support for carers during coronavirus (COVID-19), go to the Gloucestershire Carers' Hub website.