Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Royal Marsden is well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases in line with NHS England.

We have put extra safety measures in place at the Chelsea and Sutton hospitals

Please watch the following video on patient safety.

Quick links

Guidance for visitors, carers and patients

Visitor temperature checks and clinical masks

Guidance for patients at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People

Patients receiving end of life care

Using face coverings on public transport

Cancer treatment through the pandemic

Changes to hospital entrances

Our services 

Volunteer services 

Advice for travellers

Public health advice

Guidance for visitors, carers and patients

We kindly request all patients who aren’t already having regular PCR tests as part of their treatment plan to take a Lateral Flow Test twice a week, as per the government guidance. You can order LFT tests to be delivered to your home on the website or you can collect boxes of tests from local pharmacies or test centres. 

If you can’t order online or collect in person, you can call the NHS on 119 to order by phone.

Due to the continued spread of coronavirus across the UK, all visiting to The Royal Marsden is still suspended. This is in order to reduce footfall within the hospitals, limit the spread of the virus, and protect vulnerable patients and our staff. 

  • If you are a patient requiring consultation and treatment, then we ask that you attend on your own.
  • If you need a carer or a visitor to attend with you, please discuss this with your clinical team.  If you meet the criteria, then a request will be made on your behalf.  Your carer/visitor will be issued with a Carer Card that they will have to show at the hospital entrance, and their name will be on the visitor list held at reception. 

Here is more information on visitor restrictions and the criteria for requesting a carer to attend with you.

All members of the public entering the hospital will have their temperature checked and must wear a clinical mask.

We will be carrying out temperature checks for all patients coming into the hospital and it is a requirement that all members of the public entering hospitals must wear a mask to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This applies to all patients of The Royal Marsden who are attending our sites for appointments.

If you arrive at The Royal Marsden with a cloth face covering you will be provided with a clinical face mask to wear while you are in the hospital. 

In addition to patients wearing face coverings, all Royal Marsden staff are required to wear surgical facemasks in all areas of the hospitals. This will provide additional protection to patients and further reduce any risk of transmission of COVID-19. Where possible, we will be retaining the two metre social distancing rule throughout The Royal Marsden’s sites. 

Guidance for patients at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People

Due to the rising cases of Covid, all visitors and patients are required to wear surgical masks within the department. Young children can continue to wear face coverings where surgical masks do not fit.

Attendance throughout the unit is currently limited to two adult parents (or carers) with the child or young person for inpatients (with one resident overnight), and one adult patient (or carer) for outpatients and daycare. No siblings will be permitted to visit the unit at this time. 
Inpatients and resident parents on the wards in the OCCYP are required to wear face coverings when not in the bays or cubicle. This applies to children over the age of 3 years where tolerated.

Patients and their parents/carers attending outpatients and daycare are required to wear face coverings in the outpatient and daycare areas.  This applies to children over the age of 3 years where tolerated. Please make contact with your clinical nurse specialist before attending the department should you have any questions about this. We request that you attend with face coverings, however, if you arrive without a face covering the front desk will either provide a donated face covering, or mask.

Inpatient admissions are being tested and parents and patients are required to have pre admission swabs and results prior to admission.  Ongoing parents (or carers) require testing on a weekly basis whilst inpatients and be committed to reduce their own exposure risk when not in hospital to protect all the vulnerable patients and staff within the unit.    

Children and young people visiting the day care or outpatient services are receiving screening calls the day before the visit. This is to check on any household or patient symptoms and make appropriate individual plans with the relevant team regarding attendance.

Thank you for your support to protect all our patients and staff to enable us to continue caring for our patients.

Patients receiving end of life care

We will continue to do all we can to support families and carers at this time. We will support up to three family members at any one time, to be arranged in conjunction with the clinical team. This applies to all patients regardless of their COVID-19 status.

Patients requiring assistance from a chaperone, for example if the patient has physical disabilities, requires mental health support or has a cognitive illness such as dementia – we ask that one visitor takes the patient into the hospital, and if appropriate, hands over the patient over to a healthcare worker. This applies to all patients regardless of their COVID-19 status.  

Using face coverings on public transport

It is a requirement for anyone using public transport to wear a face covering. These do not need to be medical grade masks and cloth, material or homemade coverings are accepted.

For patients who are shielding and have been provided with surgical facemasks for their appointments, we recommend these are worn on public transport. In addition to wearing face coverings, we would encourage all patients to maintain social distancing where possible on the transport network, practice good hand hygiene using hand sanitiser and washing your hands with soap and water where possible, and to avoid touching your face while and after using public transport.

We also remind all patients who travel to their appointments using the Older Persons’ Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocards and English National Concessionary Scheme passes, that these will no longer be valid during the morning peak period (4.30-9.00am) Monday to Friday. If you present with loss of taste or smell, we ask you to follow the same guidance as with the other symptoms of COVID-19: please self-isolate for 7 days (or 14 if someone in your household displays symptoms).

Cancer treatment through the pandemic

We want to reassure our patients, their families and anyone worried about cancer during this difficult time that we are still delivering cancer treatment - the hospital is open. Click here for more information from our staff about cancer treatment during the pandemic.

If you are a Royal Marsden patient who is currently receiving treatment and you are displaying the symptoms of coronavirus, or other illness, please call The Royal Marsden Macmillan Hotline on 020 8915 6899, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Non patients are advised to stay at home (self-isolate) without any testing for COVID-19, regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases, if they have:

a. A new continuous cough


b. High temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher)


c. A loss of taste or smell

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness, however mild, stay at home (self-isolate) for seven days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. If someone has serious symptoms they cannot manage at home they should use NHS 111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online).  Further advice about symptom management and self-isolation can be found here.

Changes to hospital entrances

Please note we are acting to reduce the spread of the virus and thus the following entrances to the hospital are the only ones in use for patients:



Our services 

Due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases across the UK, the hospital is taking some immediate measures to ensure patients and staff remain safe. We have therefore changed some follow up outpatient appointments to telephone appointments to ensure we minimise the number of people coming into the hospital. Patients will be contacted by letter if their appointment has changed in this way.

There are number of resources available for further support during this time - please click through for more information

Volunteer services 

To reduce the number of people entering the hospitals, we have decided to suspend the majority of services carried out by Friends of The Royal Marsden, and Royal Marsden Cancer Charity volunteers. Unfortunately, this means the Outpatients café in Chelsea will close, as will the shop and sales table in Sutton and the tea trolley, outpatients and MDU admin services will cease, among others. We want to thank all of our volunteers for their support, and look forward to restarting services as soon as we can.

Advice for travellers

If you have returned to the UK within the last 14 days, please check specific advice for travellers which is updated regularly.

If you are due to attend The Royal Marsden for an appointment then we ask you to please telephone the hospital department that you plan to visit, BEFORE attending so that we can carry out a brief assessment.

Further information is available on and If you have general queries call the dedicated London response centre LCRC on 0300 303 0450.

Public health advice

The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. In addition, The Royal Marsden has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all our patients and staff while also ensuring services are available as normal.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

• Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases is thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.

Read more about our COVID-19 patient information pack here.

 If you’d like some tips on how to wash your hands effectively please watch this film which can be applied to effective hand washing in all situations.


Updated: 8 December 2020