Nurse with a patient on a ward - Jul 09

Before you come to hospital

For many people coming into hospital is a new experience and Mayday will do everything to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible.


If possible, arrange for a relative or friend to bring you to hospital, someone who can stay with you until you are settled on the ward and take away any clothes, property and valuables you will not need.

What to bring with you

Listed below are some items you may need to bring with you.

  • Night clothes, toiletries and personal towel
  • Books or magazine
  • Small amount of money
  • Notepaper, envelope, pens and stamps

Please bring any tablets or medicines that you are taking, in their original bottles or packets, and make sure that you tell the doctor, nurse or pharmacist about them.

When you are on the ward you will find lots more information about the hospital both on noticeboards and in a folder beside your bed.

Visiting Times

Wards have different visiting times so please check with a member of staff. Many of our wards operate “protected mealtimes” for patients so they can eat without being disturbed. Please check with staff when mealtimes are and avoid visiting then, unless you are helping a patient to eat.

Wards and visiting times information

Help for non English speakers

For patients who have difficulty communicating in English all wards and departments have access to face to face interpreters.

For more information see the Translation and Interpreting page.

Food at Mayday

A full and varied menu is available, including vegetarian and ethnic meals.

If you are on a special diet e.g. gluten free, low potassium, or milk free please contact the Dietetic Department on (020) 8401 3096 and let them know the date you are coming in to hospital.

Mobile phones

The use of mobile phones is restricted in certain areas of the hospital. Please look for the signs or ask a member of staff to find where it is safe for you to use your mobile.

Alcohol, recreational drugs and tobacco products should not be brought into the hospital.

Personal property

The Trust does not accept responsibility for the loss, or theft of money, valuables or personal property brought onto Trust premises. We strongly advise you not to bring valuables or large amounts of cash with you into hospital.


Flowers are welcome on most of our wards as long as they are in oasis (foam) or any other small sealed arrangement. Small potted plants are also welcome.

No cut flowers in vases are allowed at the bedside as they could be spilled onto beds, patients, staff or medical equipment. There is also a very slight risk of infection from organisms which grow in water if it is left too long.

On a very few wards, for the safety and comfort of the patients, no flowers are allowed at all. These wards are

  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Cardiac Care Unit
  • High Dependency Unit
  • Emergency Assessment Unit
  • Accident & Emergency (A&E)

On these wards the beside space is needed for equipment and staff access.

We also do not allow flowers on Heathfield 2 ward where people with chest problems are treated. This is because their condition may be made worse by pollen or other plant matter.

No smoking

Mayday is a no smoking hospital. Visitors, staff and patients must not smoke at all in the hospital buildings, car parks or grounds.

If you would like help to stop smoking before you come into hospital you can call a stop smoking help line on (020) 8666 0370. We can also offer Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patches) to patients.

Click here for more information.

Filming and Photography

Mayday wants to ensure the security, privacy and well-being of our patients, carers, visitors and staff.  To ensure this, consent for any filming or photography on Trust premises must be explicitly given by everyone involved before it can take place and participants must be given sufficient information to make an informed choice.

The Trust does not ban filming and photography on its premises, however if filming is to take place we wish to ensure it only goes ahead in an ethical way with the full agreement and understanding of patients and staff.

Any requests by media or commercial concerns to film on Trust premises must be made through the Communications department by phoning 0208 401 3627 or e-mail

If patients or visitors wish to take photographs during their stay for any reason, please speak to the person in charge of the ward or department and make sure you have permission of everyone concerned.

For obvious reasons we restrict filming and photography on our children's ward - please ask the ward staff for advice.

NHS Direct Department of Health

Moore Wilson - Web Design London