Welcome from Caroline Clarke

I have never been more proud to lead the Royal Free London (RFL).

Every day our staff continue to amaze me, pulling out all the stops to make sure we can deliver the best care possible during the biggest challenge that the RFL and our colleagues across the NHS have ever faced.

Your support continues to be invaluable throughout this unprecedented time. Thank you for helping us with service changes, sharing our messages through your channels, for checking in with us to see how we are doing and asking how you can support us and more. It is humbling to see everyone coming together to support each other.

This is the first of a fortnightly update of developments across the RFL which we hope you will find useful. It has information about how we are supporting our staff and protecting our patients, visitors and staff. We would be grateful if you could continue to share these messages through your own channels.

If you do not wish to receive these updates, please respond to this email letting us know.

Kind regards
Caroline Clarke
RFL group chief executive

'You're all stars in our eyes!'

Over the next few days we will be sharing video clips on our social media channels from a host of celebrities who want to pay tribute to our amazing staff. Find out how it all started here.

Free @ the Royal Free London

A fitness club at the Royal Free Hospital, has been transformed into a ‘supermarket’ for our staff to pick up essential items including groceries, household essentials and self-care products free of charge.
At Barnet Hospital, free community chests have been created. These are boxes that are being filled with snacks, drinks and self-care products, which are being distributed to staff rooms and kitchens.
Businesses can contact them via email: if they would like to get involved.
You can read more here.

Royal Free Charity COVID-19 emergency fund

An emergency fund to support staff at the RFL through the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by the Royal Free Charity.
From the provision of care packages at the end of a very long shift, to psychological support and the creation of physical respite spaces, to responding to the suggestions staff have for things that would help, the charity aims to get a complete support service in place as soon as possible.
The trust is also no longer accepting hot or home cooked food donations and are encouraging donations to this fund instead.
Further details can be found on the Royal Free Charity website.

Service changes

Children and young people’s emergency department at Barnet Hospital

From midday on Tuesday 14 April our children and young people’s emergency department at Barnet Hospital will be temporarily diverted to other hospitals as follows:

  • North Middlesex University Hospital for London residents
  • Watford General Hospital for Hertfordshire residents

In north central London, children and young people’s emergency services also continue to be available at: 

  • Royal Free Hospital (RFL)
  • The Whittington Hospital (Whittington Health NHS Trust)

For more information, please visit our website.

Blood taking services

The out-patient blood taking services at Barnet Hospital and Edgware Community Hospital are closed until further notice. The services at Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital remain open for urgent blood tests and for those patients who need to come in for regular tests such as medication monitoring. You can read more about the changes here

Planned surgery

In line with national guidance, from 15 April most of our planned surgery will be suspended. Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as usual. We have cancelled some procedures already to enable us to train our staff to support colleagues in other areas. Further information can be found on our website here.
Changes to out-patient appointments

Over the last few weeks we have made some changes to out-patient appointments. You can read more here.

Any further service changes will be communicated via our website here.

Visitor guidance

We have introduced restrictions to protect patients, visitors and staff during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

  • No visitors are allowed onto our wards until further notice. In exceptional circumstances visitor passes will be issued for a limited group of patients.
  • Women in labour on our maternity wards will be able to have one birth partner (they will not be able to stay overnight)
  • Birth partners will not be able to attend scans or antenatal or postnatal ward visits
Emergency department and urgent care centre
  • Adults are advised to attend alone and only one adult should accompany a child.

Further information and guidance can be found on our website.

New unit at Barnet Hospital

Before the coronavirus pandemic, at Barnet Hospital, we had plans to build an extension to our emergency department to create more capacity and help reduce pressure. We have accelerated these and a new unit with approximately 40 beds is being built.
It will open next month and we will share more information in a future update.

If you do not wish to receive these updates, please reply directly to this email letting us know.