Hospital facilities A-Z
This section explains about the facilities available at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
You can also find out more about our facilities and services by watching our hospital virtual tour.
Patient hotel at Weston House
Some parents stay on the ward with their children, but some wards do not have the space to offer this. We will arrange somewhere for you to stay elsewhere in the hospital or in the surrounding area.
We can always accommodate one parent, but can only accommodate both parents if a child is on one of the intensive care units. The service is free and all bed linen is provided, but we will ask you for a returnable deposit.
We have a patient hotel at GOSH with rooms available for certain groups of patients. Please ring the ward or department (the number is on your appointment or admission letter) for further details.
Please contact us at least one week before your child’s stay to arrange accommodation. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch our patient and family accommodation video guide to see what our parents say about accommodation at GOSH.
Further information is also available in our family accommodation information sheet.
We are currently piloting a new television system for providing entertainment by your child’s bed. This will include latest DVD releases, audio books, Sky television channels and internet access. Currently, this is being installed in selected wards in the hospital but will be extended to cover all wards in coming years.
If you have any questions about this, please ask your nurse.
We also have an information leaflet about Accessing the internet using our bedside television system.
GOSH encourages breastfeeding. All wards have suitable facilities where you can breastfeed, including access to a breast pump if you need one.
We also provide food vouchers to all mothers breastfeeding babies under six months old, whether or not your baby is a patient at GOSH.
Read our information sheet about breastfeeding and expressing milk.
If you have any questions about breastfeeding or would like some advice, please ask a member of staff to contact our neonatal nursing advisor.
There is a cash point in the main entrance to the hospital, which accepts most types of bankcards and does not charge a fee. There are plenty of other cash points in the local area. Please ask at the Pals office for directions.
Keeping the hospital clean and preventing infection is only possible if we all work together. Each bed space or cubicle has a poster outlining how you can help us and information is also available on our infection control and prevention section.
Please help us by washing your hands frequently and asking your visitors to do so too. Please also help us by keeping the area around your child’s bed clear, telling us if you think you or your child has an infection and reporting any areas that need attention to a member of staff as soon as you notice them.
Clown doctors from Theodora Children’s Trust visit most wards twice a week to share their special ‘laughter-ology’ with everyone. If you or your child would like to meet them, please ask your play specialist.
There is a large play area about five minutes’ walk from the hospital called Coram’s Fields. There is lots of play equipment there, activities during school holidays and even farm animals.
GOSH is regularly offered free or reduced price tickets to plays and other attractions in London. We also have a film show on the first Monday of the month showing the latest films. The early showing is for children and the later one for young people and adults. Details of which films are showing are displayed around the hospital.
The hospital has a very sensitive fire alarm system. If you are on the ward when a continuous fire alarm sounds, please remain calm and follow instructions from the nurse in charge. If you are elsewhere in the hospital, please remain where you are and follow instructions. If you feel you have to return to the ward, please do so calmly following any instructions from the fire team or nurse in charge.
We realise that life can be complicated when you have a child with complex needs. Many families have told us that it is difficult to keep track of changes to treatment or keep notes of who is involved in their child’s care. Directly due to these comments, we have designed the Family File to give you a handy place to record information about your child and to keep all relevant information together.
This makes it easier to find key pieces of information and share them with your child’s health care team at GOSH and at home.
Food at GOSH
We have been working hard over the past few years to improve the range and quality of food provided to patients, families and staff.
The vast majority of food served at GOSH is cooked from 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.
Freshly made halal meals are available at each mealtime in The Lagoon (the restaurant on Level 2 of the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building) and on the ward. Kosher meals are also available on request.
The catering service at GOSH is responsible for the shop, meals served in The Lagoon, and all the food for children on the wards.
Children’s meals on the ward
Each day your ward housekeeper should go through the patient menu booklet (in a folder by the bedside) and note your child’s choice of foods for the next day. If you are not shown the colourful menu booklet each day, please ask for a copy.
There are lots of choices, ranging from full meals (including halal and vegetarian options), lighter snack-type meals, salads and sandwiches. Three vegetables are available with each meal as well as a potato option. For dessert, there are freshly made puddings as well as yoghurts, ice cream and fruit.
Your ward housekeeper will provide a breakfast of cereals and toast on the ward, or if your child wants a cooked breakfast, you can buy one in The Lagoon. Lunch is delivered to the ward between 11.45am and 12.15pm and supper from 4.45pm and 5.15pm. If your child wants a meal outside of the regular serving hours, he or she can choose something from the Croc/Anytime snacks selection.
The wards have a range of ready-made infant formula for babies who are not being breast fed, so you can continue to feed your baby with the same brand as you use at home. If your child is on a special feed or diet, the milk kitchen (on Level 1 of the Southwood Building) or special diet kitchen will prepare these.
The Lagoon is on Level 2 of the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building and is the dining room for visitors and hospital staff. It is open for hot meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks seven days a week, and the menu will change daily.
At the south end of the restaurant, there is a coffee shop serving a range of hot drinks and snacks.
The Lagoon is open seven days a week from 8am-7.30pm.
The Coffee Bar, within The Lagoon, is open seven days a week from 8am-6pm.
Eating out around GOSH
The local area has plenty of eating places. For suggestions about places to eat in the local area, please ask at the Pals office.
The GO Create! arts programme includes activities ranging from visual art to music to dance, appealing to a wide range of cultural backgrounds and age groups and aims to enhance the hospital environment, reflecting the diversity of patients, visitors and staff. For more information visit the GO Create! pages.
All our members of staff should wear an identity badge at all times. If someone not wearing an identity badge approaches you or your child at any time, please check with ward staff. If you are at all worried, please ask ward staff to call security.
All hospitals in the UK have an Infection Control team of doctors, nurses and scientists who are all specially trained in microbiology, virology and infection control. The team at GOSH is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer advice and guidance to hospital staff. They also monitor all infections in the hospital and are responsible for the prevention and control of infection outbreaks.
The team works closely with staff within the hospital through a ‘link’ system. This means that each ward and department has a ‘link member of staff’ who is responsible for making sure everyone in their area is up to date on infection control standards.
The Infection Control team also works closely with all our ward teams to ensure they are kept up to date with infection prevention and control. For more information, please see our infection control and prevention section.
Launderette facilities for families are available in the hospital. Please see the map in main reception. You will need to supply your own washing powder and bring some coins for the machines. There are other launderettes in the area where you can leave a service wash or organise dry cleaning.
If you have just had a baby and your child is an inpatient at GOSH, you can visit our postnatal clinic, which is held three afternoons a week. The midwives can also advise on antenatal care if you are pregnant while your child is an inpatient.
You can use your mobile phone inside the hospital but only within designated ‘mobile friendly zones’. Using your mobile elsewhere could cause interference with our medical equipment.
Please be considerate when using your mobile phone, turning it off during consultations and keeping the noise down when children are sleeping nearby. Remember that if you are also bringing in a phone charger, it will need to be checked by our electricians before you use it.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals)
The Pals office is in the main reception area opposite the shop. They can talk through any concerns with you, find health information and liaise with staff around the hospital. They are open from 9am to 5pm from Mondays to Fridays and 10am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. Ring them on extension 7862, email them at email@example.com or visit their pages online.
The Pharmacy is where you can pick up any medicines prescribed for your child. If you have any questions about your child’s medicines, please discuss with the ward or dispensary pharmacists.
Please note that for some medicines, it is now a legal requirement that you provide proof of identification before being given the medicine. For other medicines and supplies, there are several community pharmacies in the local area.
Play and activities
Each ward has a playroom where you and your child can play together. For most of the day, the play specialist supervises this area, but you are still responsible for watching your child, particularly when the play specialist is with another child elsewhere.
Privacy and dignity
We do our utmost to protect the privacy and dignity of your child at all times during their stay at GOSH. Your child will be allocated a bed space according to how their physical, psychological and social needs are best met taking into consideration the needs of other children and young people on the ward at that time.
Please tell us if your child has a preference for being with other children of their own age or gender and we will try to meet this request where possible.
Please note that there are some circumstances where requests cannot be met, for instance, in high dependency or intensive care areas. Your child's safety will be our utmost priority at all times.
Our child psychologists work closely with the hospital team to promote psychological well-being in your child and family. We also help prevent and enable you to cope with any developmental, behavioural or emotional difficulties that can sometimes arise as a result of a child having an illness or being in hospital.
Psychological input may be available while your child is an inpatient or outpatient. You can ask your child’s doctor, nurse or any other member of the team to contact a psychologist.
Radio Lollipop, our play based interactive radio service, is available on Monday and Wednesday evenings between 6.15pm and 8.15pm on channel 9 on ward televisions. During non-broadcast times, a 24/7 radio service is available.
The service is provided by volunteers who also visit the wards during the broadcasts providing creative activities for patients and families. You can call the studio on extension 6784 to make music requests and take part in a variety of competitions.
Religious support and services
The multi-faith chaplaincy team offers spiritual, religious and pastoral care to staff, families, and children of all faiths or none. They provide a 24-hour on-call service every day of the year.
If you would like to see a chaplain, please ask ward staff or ask at the main reception desk. The chaplains are a visible presence in the hospital, visiting wards and departments each day. For more information, please see our information leaflet.
St Christopher’s Chapel on level 2 of the Variety Club Building is always open. We also have a multifaith room. We also have a Shabbat Room for Jewish families; please ask the Chaplaincy department for details.
Services are held in the Chapel each weekday to which all are welcome. Details of Sunday services at local churches are displayed on the Chaplaincy notice board.
Respect for our staff and other families
We know that there may be times when families are frustrated, angry or upset, and we will help you find the right member of staff to discuss any concerns you have about your child’s care.
However, we have had to adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to behaviour that is inappropriate or threatening to patients, families or staff, although this is rare at GOSH. We will not tolerate any kind of threatening behaviour - verbal, physical or psychological - and we have a policy to ensure that this is dealt with appropriately.
This involves asking the person to come to an agreement about the behaviour we expect from them. In rare circumstances where this agreement is not kept, we can and will remove the person from the hospital.
Responsibility for children
Although this is a children’s hospital, you will still be responsible for the behaviour of your child and the safety and behaviour of any brothers or sisters coming to visit. Please arrange supervision of brothers and sisters at all times.
The School caters for all school age children (Year 1 to Year 13) who are inpatients or staying in the patient hotel. Priority for ward teaching is given to recurrent or long-stay inpatients.
Children are encouraged to come to the school to work with others of their own age as part of a group. If this is not possible, a teacher will visit your child on the ward.
If your child is likely to be in hospital for more than a few days it would be very helpful if you could bring details of any schoolwork (coursework or homework) that your child needs to keep up with.
For more information or advice about your child's schooling, please contact the school on 020 7813 8269, or visit the School pages on our website.
Scout and Guide Group
This is open to anyone aged six or older and meets every Tuesday evening from 6.30pm to 8pm in the Centre in the Southwood Building.
We offer an evening away from the ward for both patients and other young family members. Each week we have a range of fun activities on a different theme, and give the opportunity for you to make friends with other children from the hospital.
For more details, please call our voicemail on extension 0419 at the hospital, or look out for the Scout and Guide Leaders when they visit your ward on Tuesday evenings. You can find more information on their website: www.17thholborn.org.uk
The hospital has a security team on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are there to protect all staff and visitors to the hospital. If you see anything that looks out of the ordinary, please ask a member of staff to contact security.
The shop sells a range of products including newspapers, magazines, sweet and savoury snacks and drinks. It also sells toiletries, cards, games, toys and GOSH logo products. It is open from 8am to 6pm on weekdays and from 9am-4pm on Saturdays.
Social work department
The department includes social workers and family support workers, who work together to enable children and families to cope with the stress of illness and provide practical advice and assistance on welfare benefits and financial support.
We also provide a direct social work service to children and families. We work in multidisciplinary teams attached to and working closely with the medical units.
Please visit the social work department or see our information sheet 'Social Work at GOSH'.
GOSH is now a smoke-free zone, which means that you cannot smoke anywhere inside hospital property and adjacent areas, such as entrances to hospital buildings.
Suggestions and complaints
We are always trying to improve our services for patients and their families. If you have any suggestions or complaints about the ward or hospital, please let us know about them. First speak to the ward staff or your child’s consultant if there is a problem with your child’s treatment.
If you feel your problem has not been resolved, you can call in at the Pals office to discuss the matter further. We have comments cards in various locations around the hospital and available online - please fill one in and drop it in our comments box.
There are card phones by each bed and at various points around the hospital. You can buy GOSH phone cards from the shop or you can use your credit/debit card.
You can use your mobile phone inside the hospital but only within designated ‘mobile friendly zones’. Using your mobile elsewhere could cause interference with our medical equipment. Remember that if you are also bringing in a phone charger, it will need to be checked by our electricians before you use it.
Toilets and changing facilities
There are toilets and baby and disabled changing facilities at various locations throughout the hospital - please see the map for details. There is a toilet with hoist facility on the ground floor between the Variety Club and Southwood Buildings (next to the men's and women's toilets).
This toilet contains a hoist and an adjustable changing table. Users should be experienced in using the equipment as the facility is not staffed, although there is a 24 hour emergency call pull. Users must bring their own slings (loop type) and should use the supplies provided to clear up afterwards to support effective infection control within the hospital.
Parents and carers are welcome at all times, as are brothers and sisters. Friends and other relatives should visit between 10am and 8pm.
Visitors with colds, coughs or other infectious diseases should check with the ward first, and preferably not visit until they are well.
Some wards have restrictions on the number of visitors and visiting times, so please check with the ward first.