Enquiries: 01305 251150

Updated 13 September 2021

Page updated, 13 September 2021

For all the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Coronavirus guidelines

There are no changes to coronavirus guidelines within healthcare settings. In line with national guidance, all patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings in the hospital and follow social distancing measures to ensure we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for people who need our care and for everyone working in our services. 

Face coverings are mandatory in this hospital for outpatients and visitors

In line with government COVID-19 guidance for healthcare settings, we continue to have strict infection prevention and control measures in place to protect our patients and staff.

Everyone visiting this hospital, including patients attending outpatient appointments, visitors accompanying patients to appointments and visitors to inpatient wards, is required to wear a face covering and we thank the majority of visitors to the hospital who are doing this.

If you are not able to tolerate wearing a face covering or surgical mask, you will be required to wear a visor that we provide, unless you can demonstrate you are exempt. A visor provides some degree of reduction of spray when you talk and is a recognised alternative for those rare occasions where someone cannot tolerate a mask.

If you do not wear a face covering and decline a visor, and you are not exempt, you will not be allowed to enter the hospital.

Please help us keep the hospital COVID safe for all patients, staff and visitors, and be respectful to our staff if they ask you to comply with this hospital policy. Verbal or physical aggressive behaviour towards our staff will not be tolerated.

Visiting guidance also remains unchanged to ensure patients and staff are protected. More information is available below.

Further details on restrictions in healthcare settings are available on the NHS England website.

Visiting guidance

There are no changes to our visiting guidance. In line with national guidance for healthcare settings, we still require visitors to wear face masks and social distancing measures remain in place.

A booking system is used by the wards to book a one-hour timeslot in advance so please contact the ward before visiting.

You must not visit the hospital if:

You can find full details on visiting page

COVID-19 vaccination

Please click here for more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dorset.

Changes to maternity restrictions

Two partners can accompany women for all admissions to the labour ward (excluding planned caesarean births). The birthing partners are required to undertake a rapid COVID test (lateral flow test) no more than 24hrs before the scan appointment.

Pregnant women may bring one support person with them to all scans. The support person is required to undertake a rapid COVID test (lateral flow test) no more than 24hrs before the scan appointment.

All women attending consultant antenatal clinics at DCH may bring a partner/family member with them.

Further information and guidance is available on our Maternity Unit page.

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. Families are invited to send messages to connected@dchft.nhs.uk 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.

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 times for 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.

You can find more information and advice about waiting for surgery on our Waiting Well page.

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 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, there are face coverings available at all entrances of the hospital.

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.

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 only accepting cash in four of our parking machines (all situated next to North Wing Entrance 1 and 2). Anyone wishing to park can also use our DCH parking app or pay through the cash office. If you have any queries or problems please contact the Transport Office on 01305 255688 or email transport@dchft.nhs.uk


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.

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.

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.