Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Our top priority is our patients and ensuring that they receive the safest and best care possible.
Over the last few months, we have been preparing for the winter and a potential second surge in COVID-19 cases. As part of this, we have worked closely with our partners across north central London, and a review has taken place of emergency and in-patient children and young people’s services in the sector.
It has recommended temporary changes to children and young people's services to make sure patients continue to receive the very best care. This includes the temporary closure of the Royal Free Hospital children’s and young people’s emergency department from Monday 28 September. Our in-patient services will also temporarily close until further notice.

You can read more about these changes in this update, which includes where you can find frequently asked questions.
We would be grateful if you could share these messages through your communication channels and widely within your networks.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Service changes

Temporary closure of Royal Free Hospital children and young people's emergency department

To ensure the NHS can continue to deliver the best emergency and planned care across north central London during the winter and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the children and young people's emergency department at the Royal Free Hospital will be closed until further notice.

The closure will come into effect from 28 September. If a child needs emergency care, please take them to a hospital with a children and young people’s emergency department such as:

  • Barnet Hospital, Wellhouse Lane, EN5 3DJ
  • North Middlesex Hospital, Sterling Way, N18 1QX
  • The Whittington Hospital, Magdala Avenue, N19 5NF
  • St Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, W2 1NY

The children and young people’s emergency department at University College Hospital will also be temporarily closed.
If anyone needs urgent medical help or advice, and the situation is not life threatening, they should visit or call NHS 111 to find out where their nearest service is located.
At the Royal Free Hospital, children and young people’s in-patient services are also temporarily closing.
For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit our website.

Children’s out-patient blood taking services

We are currently providing out-patient blood taking services at Chase Farm Hospital and Edgware Community Hospital at the children and young people’s ambulatory hub. The clinics at the Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital remain closed until further notice.
The clinics at Chase Farm Hospital and the children and young people’s ambulatory hub are open for routine and urgent blood tests. Walk-in appointments are not available and appointments will need to be pre-booked. 
Appointments at Chase Farm Hospital can be booked online. If patients experience any difficulties booking an appointment, they can call 020 8216 5192 or 020 8216 4933.

Appointments at the children and young people’s ambulatory hub can be booked by calling 020 3758 2410. 

Patients will need to bring a confirmation of their appointment – they will not be able to enter our hospitals without this.
More information can be found on our website.

Could regulating salt intake hold the key to better health?

A new study led by renal consultants Professor Alan Salama and Dr Stephen Walsh has revealed that salt plays an important role in the immune system.
The study showed that patients who have a condition which means they lose excessive salt in the urine often suffer from recurrent infections because they do not make enough of a protective type of white blood cell that is needed as part of a healthy immune system.
You can read more about the results of the study on our website.

Half century - not out

Balu (Balwant) Chauhan, a pharmacy technician at the Royal Free Hospital, is celebrating 50 years of working for the NHS this week.

Balu joined the NHS as a student pharmacy technician on 21 September 1970, when he was 21 years old. He went on to join the Royal Free Hospital in May 1979, becoming chief pharmacy technician and spending four decades with the trust.
Read Balu’s story here.

Finding peace

A glass tile which honours staff at the Royal Free London ‘for their heroism as they fight to save the many lives in their care’ has been unveiled at the World Peace Garden.
The tile, which was created by artist Melissa Fairbank, was presented to the Royal Free Hospital's chief executive, Kate Slemeck, by Marc Hutchinson, chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society.
Marc told volunteers, supporters of the garden and members of the local community: "This tile commemorates the amazing sacrifice and hard work done by the Royal Free London at this extraordinary time."
Read more here.

Latest information for the public

We have a dedicated COVID-19 section on our website. The latest information for patients and visitors, and our patient resources library can be found here. This page is regularly updated to reflect the changing situation.

First ever virtual annual members’ meeting celebrates trust’s achievements during momentous year

Our annual members’ meeting took place on Wednesday 16 September, and held online for the first time due to social distancing restrictions.
Following a momentous six months for the NHS, the bravery and commitment of staff, the generosity of local residents and community groups, and the support provided by the Royal Free Charity were key themes throughout this year’s meeting.
You can watch the meeting here.

£9 million for world leading Parkinson’s research at the Royal Free Hospital

The Royal Free Hospital is to receive £9 million in funding from a partnership involving the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
A total of £6.4 million will go to research, led by UCL and involving patients from the Royal Free Hospital. Other grants to the Royal Free Hospital involve investigating the genetics and progression of the disease.
The studies are among 21 international projects receiving new funding from the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) initiative, which is partnering with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research to implement its programmes and issue these grants.
Read more here.

Parking changes at our hospitals from Monday 28 September 

At Barnet Hospital, car park A will return to being patient parking, along with the fracture clinic and ED, while car park B will continue to offer staff parking.

Parking charges for patients will be reintroduced from Monday 28 September at both Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital. A the Royal Free Hospital visitor parking fees have already commenced.

Further information can be found on our website.

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