Arriving on a ward

If your child is coming to Great Ormond Street Hospital for an inpatient stay or as a day patient, this section explains what you can expect.

Travelling to the hospital20160211-_MG_1334

We will need you to be on the ward by the time stated in your admission letter or the time you have been asked to attend. This gives the doctors and nurses enough time to prepare your child for their procedure.

On admission day, if you are running late for any reason, please telephone the ward to warn us. If you arrive late or do not telephone to warn us, we may have to delay or even cancel your child's procedure.

When you arrive at the hospital

Please report to the International and Private Patients (IPP) service reception desk. This is  situated in the Harris International Patients Centre on level two of the Octar Botnar Wing. You can access this through the IPP entrance on Lamb's Conduit Street.

We will register your admittance at the reception desk. For registration you will need your appointment letter, insurance details and two forms of identification. These should be official documents and include something which shows your residential address.

There will be an advocate on hand if you require any help with the registration.

Depending what time you arrive, either an advocate or a nurse will take you to the ward and to your personal cubicle. You  will be given time to settle in before being shown around the ward and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions when we explain what happens next.

Settling in to the ward

You will be shown around the ward by an advocate if you arrive during the day, or a nurse if you arrive at night. A nurse will also check your child's height, weight, temperature, pulse and blood pressure.

Your nurse will make sure your child is as comfortable as possible and ask about favourite foods, bedtime, favourite games and any special needs.

Please hand all your child's medicines to the nurse for safekeeping, but please remember to take them home with you when you leave Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Meeting the ward doctor

A doctor will carry out a physical examination of your child, talk to you about their treatment and answer any questions. In some departments, this will be carried out by a nurse practitioner.

If your child needs tests such as X-rays or blood tests, the ward staff will direct you to where these take place or come with you to the right department. If your child has come to a pre-admission clinic, these tests may already have been done.

Ward rounds and handovers

Medical staff visit each patient every day to make decisions about their care. This is called a 'ward round'.

The exact time may vary but the nurses will tell you when it happens on your ward.

Your child will have a lead consultant who will plan your child's care. The consultant will assess your child regularly and advise the ward doctors about any changes which need to be made. If you would like to speak to your child's consultant, please ask the nurse or ward doctor and they will arrange this for you.

IPP services also have a consultant who will co-ordinate the care that your lead consultant has planned.

The ward doctors will see your child every day during morning ward round. The ward doctor is available from 9am-5pm, but sometimes the shifts are 8am-4pm. There is also a ward doctor working across the unit until 9pm on weekdays and 8am-8pm on weekends.

There are two shifts of nurses working each day: a day shift and a night shift. The shifts change over at 7.45am and 7.45pm. At these times, nursing staff hand over information about your child's progress to the next shift.

Out of hours, the nursing staff will contact a clinical site practitioner (CSP) to review a patient in the first instance. CSPs are senior nurses who will then make the decision whether or not a doctor needs to come to the ward and see your child. There are always doctors available on site to attend to your child if required.

If you feel you need to see a doctor because you feel unwell, please ask the ward manager who will be able to advise you about general practitioners (GPs) near to the hospital.


Each ward has its own housekeeper who is there to make patients and their families as comfortable as possible.

They will:

  • help you with your menu
  • provide snacks throughout the day
  • inform you of local shops and amenities
  • assist in arranging accommodation
  • provide extra bedding
  • be on hand to help answer your questions

A specialist team of hospital cleaning staff is employed to clean all areas on the ward including cubicles, corridors, kitchens and play areas.

Food for patients

The vast majority of food served at Great Ormond Street Hospital is cooked fresh, using top quality ingredients that are organic where possible. We have reduced the amount of processed food and are increasing the number of healthy options available.

Our children's menus have been designed after consultation with expert dietitians and we are able to cater for halal, kosher, vegetarian and special diet requirements. 

A housekeeper will visit you daily so that you can choose your child's food for the following day.

If your child would like a snack during the day then please ask your nurse

Please let your nurse know if your child requires a special diet so that this can be arranged for you with the minimum delay.

Food for parents

There is a parents' kitchen on each ward where you can reheat food. Please note that food cannot be cooked from fresh.

In the kitchen you will find a microwave and a fridge to store food. Please ensure all food is labelled with you name and cubicle number with the stickers provided on your admission.

The fridge is cleaned every day and any out-of-date items will be thrown away to ensure the fridge is kept clean.

Tea, coffee, biscuits, milk, bread and breakfast cereals are all available in the kitchen. Please help yourself to these items which are free of charge.  

There are several restaurants and cafes in the main part of the hospital, as well as outside on Lamb's Conduit Street or in the Brunswick centre. Please ask a member of staff for directions.

Play rooms

Each ward has a designated play area where you and your child can play together. On weekdays, there will also be a play specialist who will play with your child.

Play specialists can help to explain and prepare your child for a medical procedure, keep them relaxed and help them to communicate their feelings through play. Play activities are available for children of all ages, including games, painting, video games and soft toys.

For most of the day, the play specialists supervise these areas, but there must always be an adult with your child, particularly when the play specialist is with another child elsewhere.