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Staying in hospital

For information about wards please see the individual hospitals' own sections

For information about leaving hospital (discharge) please see 'Leaving hospital'


Visitor FAQs

For clinical reasons, we may ask visitors to move away from the bedside for short periods of time.

Critical Care / High Dependency Units have their own separate visiting times

If a friend, or a member of your family, has a cold, cough, stomach upset or condition that may be infectious, please ask them not to visit until they are well again. Visitors should use the hand rub provided.


Filming and photography is not permitted anywhere on our hospital sites.

All requests for filming and/or photography on any of our hospital sites must be made in advance through the Communications team.

Our staff must be aware when audio recording is taking place.

Filming and photography on site


We may ask you to sign a consent form before certain treatments. You can withdraw consent even after signing. Ask any questions you like, and tell us about anything which may affect your general health.

Personal information

We may ask for information about yourself, including 24 hour contact details for the person you would like to be contacted in an emergency, e.g. your wife, husband, partner, friend or relative.

Change of details

If you change your GP, or your home address (please inform your GP first), contact us so that we can update our records:

Appointments - contact details


Students may be present when you receive treatment: if you would prefer students not to be present, please tell the nurse or the doctor.


When you arrive on your ward we will give you a printed wristband to wear. We use the wristband to check your identity before we give you any treatment. If you notice a mistake on your wristband or are not given one, please tell a member of staff.

Risk of blood clots

Being admitted to a hospital can increase your risk of developing a blood clot. See a doctor or go to A&E immediately if you have any new redness, pain or swelling in your legs, have difficulty breathing, feel faint, cough up blood or have chest pain.

For information on blood clots and how to reduce the risk, download the app 'Let's Talk Clots'.


You will have a bedside cabinet, but it cannot be locked. Please give anything valuable to your nurse, who will give you a receipt.

Pensions / benefits

If you receive a pension or benefits please ask a friend to deal with these during your stay. If this is not possible, bring your pension book with you and give it to your nurse. Pensions and benefits may be reduced while you are in hospital: please contact the Department for Work and Pensions on 0845 606 0265 if you are in any doubt.

Care packages

If you have a care package paid for by your local council, please bring all the details about your carer or care package with you to hospital, including contact name and number.

What to bring

  • Medicines
    Please bring with you all medicines you are taking, in their original containers, and any special cards that give details of your current treatment (e.g. steroid card). Please also bring any non-prescription medicines, ointment or supplements that you use regularly. Put all these things in the green medicines bag (supplied with your admission letter).
  • Nightdress / pyjamas, dressing-gown and slippers
    If you are having a foot operation, please bring suitable open footwear as your normal slippers may not fit after your operation.
  • Comfortable day clothes (if needed, but not too many)
  • Toiletries, towels and tissues
  • Walking or dressing aid (if used)
  • Denture cleaner / bowl (if used)
  • Books, magazines, stationery, stamps and pens
  • Loose change for newspapers etc.

Please do not bring the following.

  • Television / radio
    Television is available in all day rooms and all beds have a radio service. Most wards also have a pay-per-view system at the bedside. Pre-payment cards can be bought by credit / debit card from machines near the wards.
  • Alcohol
    Alcohol is not allowed anywhere in the hospital.
  • Jewellery or large sums of money
  • Electrical appliances
    If you bring a hairdryer or electric shaver with you, it must be checked by a hospital electrician before you use it to ensure it is safe. A member of the ward staff can arrange this for you.

Hospital radio

Radio Cherwell broadcasts from studios at the Churchill Hospital in Headington and you can listen via the bedside system.

Patients at the Horton General Hospital can listen to Radio Horton, which is run by volunteers.

Radio Horton is also available to listen to online, so anyone anywhere can tune in.

  • Radio Horton - click on the blue 'Listen Live' button
  • 'TuneIn Radio' app (available for smartphones) - search for 'Radio Horton'
  • Freecall on *800 via Hospedia.
  • Requests and dedications: 01295 229211
  • Email:

Staying in touch


Please ask staff on your ward if you may use a mobile phone, and if so, where. Reception varies greatly throughout the hospital buildings.

There are public phones on some wards and a bedside service, provided by Hospedia in the John Radcliffe, Churchill and Horton General hospitals.


We offer free Wi-Fi on our hospital sites: 'OUH-Guest'.


Mail is delivered to the ward each morning. Please ask your relatives and friends to write your name and ward clearly on the envelope.

The address for mail for you is:

Your name
Your ward
The address of the hospital (please see 'Hospitals' on this site)

Outgoing mail, appropriately stamped, may be given to ward staff. There are daily Royal Mail collections from the hospital postboxes:

  • John Radcliffe Hospital: reception area, Level 2, main hospital, and reception, Level 2, Women's Centre.
  • Churchill Hospital: outside Physiotherapy just down from the Porter's Lodge
  • Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre: atrium
  • Horton General Hospital: please give your mail to staff


We offer inpatients three meals a day, snacks mid-morning and afternoon, and at least seven drinks during the day. If you feel hungry or miss a meal, please tell your nurse and we will arrange food and drink for you.

We cater for many dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, allergy-aware, dysphasic levels, finger food, halal, and kosher options. If you have specific dietary requirements, or need a menu in another language, please call the ward in advance so we can help.


We do not allow flowers for infection control reasons.

Same-sex accommodation

We provide same-sex accommodation where it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so. If the only bed available is in a mixed-sex area we will explain this to you and move you to a same-sex area as soon as possible.

Hearing difficulties

If you wear a hearing aid or have hearing difficulties, please tell the nurses and doctors looking after you.


If your first language is not English and you need an interpreter to help you speak to doctors and nurses, ask a relative or friend to tell your nurse as soon as possible. (Your GP may already have told us that you need an interpreter.)

Cultural / religious needs

While you are in hospital your cultural and religious beliefs will be respected and staff will do their best to respect your wishes.

You may also contact our Chaplaincy team:



For the health and safety of all patients and staff, smoking is not allowed within the hospital or its grounds.

If you would like support to stay smoke-free whilst in hospital, please speak to your nurse, who will be able to discuss the options with you; these include Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) where appropriate.

For more information on stopping smoking, please contact our Here for Health team:

Here for Health

Last reviewed:28 November 2023