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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Page updated, 20 August 2020

For all the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit:

New Visiting Guidance

New Government guidance has opened up visiting to hospital wards but this is being managed in a controlled way to protect visitors, patients and staff by minimising the risk of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and other infections.

You must not visit the hospital if you are suffering from any of the following symptoms: high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, migraine, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Visiting is limited to one visitor for a maximum of one hour per day for each patient and visitors have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). You must arrange the time to visit with the ward in advance. Click here for full details.

Planned Procedures and Appointments

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, your planned procedure or appointment may be postponed where clinically appropriate. If this happens you will be notified via letter, phone call or text message.

We are unable to rebook you at this time but you will be added to a waiting list and we will be in contact once we are able to offer you a new date. If you are on a waiting list for an appointment but haven't heard from us since your referral please be assured we will be in touch as soon as we are able to schedule your appointment.

Most cancer and clinically urgent appointments and procedures will continue to take place - it is possible the location may change and if this is the case you will be notified via letter or phone call.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.

Waiting Timesfor Routine Surgery

The coronavirus response has had a significant impact on the services we can provide to our patients, but we have been working extremely hard to restart activities that were paused during the pandemic.

Our teams have worked incredibly hard to maintain urgent procedures, and to run as many appointments as possible during the pandemic through telephone and video consultations.

Inevitably we are now facing some long waiting times for routine surgery within a number of specialities and work is underway to address this backlog.

We understand the impact longer waits have on our patients and we apologise for the inconvenience of any delay in treatment. The safety of our patients is our top priority and we will prioritise the most clinically urgent patients. We have rigorous infection control safety measures in place to protect both our patients and our staff. As a result of these measures some planned treatments are taking longer to perform than they did before which is also adding to delays.

We would like to thank you for your patience and reassure you that our teams are doing everything they can to restart services safely as soon as possible.

Telephone Consultations

We are doing many more patient consultations via the telephone now so you don’t have to attend hospital appointments in person unless absolutely necessary. Please be aware our call is likely to display on your phone as a withheld number so please pick up if you are expecting to hear from us. If you have a voicemail service on your phone please consider leaving a personal greeting so we know we are calling the right person – we cannot leave a voicemail message for you if we are not sure we have got through to the correct number.

Patients Attending Appointments

In order to protect patients, staff, and the public, and practice effective social distancing, we are introducing new arrangements for outpatient appointments.

Please use a cloth face covering when attending the hospital. Guidance on how to make a cloth covering is available on the Government website. If you are not able to bring one with you, please contact the department prior to your appointment.


Do not attend your appointment if you are showing any symptoms of coronavirus.

Please attend your appointment alone. Exceptions are only made for children 16 or under and patients with specific care needs.  

Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes for your appointment and if you are running late, please contact the department.

Please click here to access patient information leaflets regarding appointments, admissions and procedures during coronavirus. 

More information on what to expect when attending appointments is available here

Paediatric appointments will be asked to wait in their car/outside and call the Children’s Centre on 01305 254739 to inform them of your arrival. Staff will then let you know when you can enter the building. This is to ensure patient numbers are kept to a minimum 

More information for paediatric appointments is available here

Coronavirus Patient Information Leaflets

Please click here to access patient information leaflets regarding appointments, admissions and procedures during coronavirus.

Advice for Patients with Additional Needs

Please click here for more information about support for patients with additional needs, a learning disability or autism.

Inpatient Swabbing
In line with national guidance, we are now swabbing all patients who are admitted as non-elective admissions (emergencies, maternity and paediatrics) to test for COVID-19.

Patient Process if Healthcare Professional Tests Positive

We have a process in place to ensure patient safety, in line with Public Health England and NHS guidance, should a healthcare professional working at Dorset County Hospital test positive for COVID-19. Please be reassured that we are taking every precaution and all our clinical staff are wearing the appropriate PPE when in contact with patients.

Parking Machines

Due to the current coronavirus outbreak we are not accepting cash in our parking machines. Anyone wishing to park should use our DCH parking app.
If you have any queries or problems please contact the Transport Office on 01305 255688 or email


Drinks and food are available for takeaway from the Terrace Cafe for visitors - please note we cannot accept cash, card payments only.

Video App for Families of Inpatients

Friends and family of inpatients can now connect to their loved ones via video link.

Simply download the free Lifesize app onto your own device (android or apple). Both parties then enter a unique number and they are able to video call each other. It works on Wi-Fi and 3G/4G. We have a number of Trust iPads patients can use if they do not have their own device. 

More information on how to download the app is available here

Please contact the ward your family is on to arrange this.

Email Service for Families of Inpatients

We have set up a dedicated email address for families, carers and friends of patients currently in hospital as another way of keeping in touch since general visiting is suspended (see details on visiting below). Families are invited to send messages to and are asked to please indicate the ward, initials and date of birth of the person they are contacting in the subject box of the email. We will ensure their messages are delivered as soon as possible. If a patient is unable to read the letter themselves, we will ensure a member of the ward team will read the message to them.


We have received many very generous offers of help and support during the coronavirus outbreak. Please click here to find out more about how you can help, and what we can and can't accept as donations.

Sharing of Electronic Prescribing Medicines Administration (EPMA) Data for COVID-19 Response

To support the government response to coronavirus (COVID-19), we are sharing data on the medicines prescribed and administered to patients in hospital settings with NHS Digital.

The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak of COVID-19. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations. Click here for full details on our Privacy Notice page.

Public Health COVID-19 Studies Open at DCHFT

Click here for information from our research and innovation team about COVID-19 studies Dorset County Hospital is involved with.

Help Us Help You South West Survey

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people who work in health and care services and the voluntary and community sector across the South West have offered new choices to patients and the public, for example, by making more use of online and telephone appointments.

We would like to know what you think about these new ways of working to help us understand how we can best meet the future needs of the people living in our region. 

Please share your views by completing this questionnaire. It should take between 10 and 15 minutes.

The information you provide will be used by health and care organisations and commissioners at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the South West to help us understand what suits different people best in different parts of our region.

The survey will be open until 31 July 2020. A report with the results of the survey will be published on the NHS England and NHS Improvement South West website and participating health and care organisations and shared with those who provide their email addresses.

Trust-wide Social Distancing Risk Assessments

Please click here to view a document which outlines all of the social distancing risk assessments we have carried out within the Trust, and a list of the departments assessed.