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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

If you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell, do not come to our hospitals. Follow the national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please find information on our services and visiting restrictions in our COVID-19 section.

Patients and visitors must wear a face covering in our hospitals.

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Social Distancing

Information alert box Last updated: 4 May 2021

This is a fast moving situation and we will try to keep this page as up-to-date as possible.
Please continue to check national guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your question is not answered below, and you are a member of staff, please speak to your line manager or email

If your question is about an OUH HR matter that isn't addressed here, please discuss this initially with your line manager who can then raise it with the HR consultant for your Division.

Some links are to documents on the OUH internal staff intranet: if you are a staff member and cannot access the intranet, please email and we will send you the document you need.

Please remember guidance is likely to change rapidly, so check back to see if you have the most up-to-date version of a document.

Social distancing FAQs

What is the Trust doing about social distancing in our hospitals?

National guidance has confirmed we can keep the restaurants on all hospital sites open - as well as food and drink concessions - but this is only possible if staff practise social distancing.

Stand two metres apart in queues.

If sitting in the restaurants or cafes, one member of staff only to sit at each table.

Do not move the chairs, leave as placed

If some staff do not practise social distancing, all staff lose out. Please help us to help you by adhering to the social distancing guidelines set out above.

Print out and share this poster on taking your break safely (pdf, 153 KB)

What is the guidance on car sharing?

You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or support bubble.

If you need to do this, try to:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • face away from each other
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products - make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering.

In order to handwash I have to leave my office and go through two sets of doors. What should I do?

Unfortunately we cannot escape touching surfaces in our workplace. It is important that frequently-touched surfaces, such a door handles, keyboards and phones, are regularly cleaned. You could use hand sanitiser which is available in individual bottles.

Is it time to enable all the doors in clinical areas to have contact-free opening, including operating theatres?

This is not something that we can introduce quickly. The Infection Prevention and Control Team is part of a Trustwide process for the resumption of planned care and are looking at a package of measures.

How do you engage with PFI partners about changes to allow staff to socially distance?

We meet PFI partners every week to discuss our COVID-19 response.

Changes to space are discussed, but there are a very large number of changes being requested in the PFI and retained estate, and we are having to prioritise them.