Welcome from Caroline Clarke

Our hospitals are becoming increasingly busy and the coming weeks are going to be challenging.  
In response to the increasing need for us to care for patients requiring urgent, emergency or COVID-19 care, we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all non-urgent, time critical planned procedures/operations and out-patient services.
These changes will be implemented from the afternoon of Monday 21 December 2020. This will help us to free up vital staff to help care for patients with the most urgent clinical need.
We will be contacting patients affected by this decision as soon as possible. If patients do not hear from us, we are asking them to attend their appointment as planned.
Urgent and emergency care, including cancer treatments will continue.
Further information, including frequently asked questions, can be found on our website. Please share these temporary changes widely through your channels.
On behalf of our staff and patients, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the support you have given to the Royal Free London (RFL) over the past year.
It has been the most difficult year many of us have ever experienced and your support has played a part in getting us through.
I hope you have a chance to get some rest over the coming weeks. We will share our next update during the first week of January.

Kind regards

Caroline Clarke

Group chief executive
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Service changes

Re-introduction of partners to some of our maternity services

Partners of women who are in early labour or having labour induced can now stay on our antenatal wards 24 hours a day.

Partners will be screened each time they enter a maternity service. If at any time they experience symptoms of coronavirus or present with a positive COVID-19 screening, they will need to stay at home and self-isolate.

More information can be found on our website.

RFL named COVID-19 vaccination hub

The RFL was named as one of 50 hubs in the NHS chosen to roll out the first COVID-19 vaccine.
We are working closely with our partners across north central London to ensure the right people are invited to receive the vaccination. We are offering these to the priority groups first as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Further information about the vaccination hub can be found on our website.

80-year-old grandmother Josephine Faleye became the first person at the Royal Free Hospital to receive the vaccine.
Josephine said: “I am excited to be the first person at this hospital to be vaccinated against COVID-19. I’m happy to have it and I hope that if people see me having it at the age of 80, it will encourage them to have it too.”

Read more about the first vaccination here.

Final episode of BBC documentary Hospital

The final episode of the BBC Two documentary Hospital filmed at the RFL was broadcast last week.

The episode explored the challenges of keeping our wards covid-free and how the trust started rolling-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

All episodes are now available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

Not so ordinary - charity single

Kitty Coburn & The Creative Collective have recorded a cover version of Duran Duran’s hit, ‘Ordinary World’ and released a music video to accompany the song.

The video is choreographed and directed by Michael O’Donnell, director of West End’s Lion King and former New York City Ballet dancer, and stars two furloughed leading West End dancers Fransisco ‘Chico’ Lins and Darcel Osei. It was filmed in a social bubble by leading videographer Neil Gordon and edited by Kitty herself.

Proceeds from the single are being donated to the Royal Free Charity which works directly with the Royal Free London to develop and support high-impact projects.

You can read more on our website.

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 continually being updated to reflect the changing situation.
The RFL has been named as one of 50 hubs in the NHS chosen to roll out the first COVID-19 vaccine.

We are offering these to the priority groups first as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Further information about the vaccination hub at the RFL can be found on our website.

Plans for upgrade of lifts at the Royal Free Hospital

An upgrade and refurbishment of the lifts at the Royal Free Hospital will start in the new year to improve the experience of travelling around the hospital for patients, visitors and staff.

From mid-January, two of the six main passenger lifts will be out of action while they are replaced with newer, more efficient controls and operating equipment. This is part of a three-phase project to replace each of the six lifts at the Royal Free Hospital. Replacing the first two lifts will take approximately 21 weeks to complete.

To keep disruption to a minimum, staff will be briefed on where to direct patients from the entrance to help people move around the hospital efficiently, and additional signage will be in place directing to alternative lifts and stairs. 

Further information can be found on our website.

Green fingered volunteers celebrate five years

A team of volunteer gardeners have celebrated the fifth anniversary of their project to transform the front entrance of the Royal Free Hospital with a series of gardens.

The group was founded by Dr Charlotte Gascoigne, Linda and Malcolm Grove and is funded by the Royal Free Charity.

The team maintains the garden for the benefit of everyone at the hospital and these outside spaces are greatly appreciated by staff, patients and their loved ones.

Read more here.

Draw 2020: children's competition returns

Following the success of this summer’s ‘Draw 2020’ competition, the Royal Free Hospital’s paediatrics team has launched a second festive edition. 

The competition was created by Dr Victoria Dublon, paediatric consultant at the Royal Free Hospital, and has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Royal Free Charity.

Entrants are asked to ‘draw or paint something that makes you smile during the winter festive season’ and do not have to be a patient, any young person can enter.  

Entries should be sent to: and the competition closes on Friday 8 January 2021.

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