Arrival on a ward

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

Your admission letter will give you further instructions for preparing for your child's admission. Please follow these exactly, otherwise the admission may be delayed or cancelled.

Travelling to GOSH

We will need you to be on the ward by the time stated in your admission letter. 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 ward named in your admission letter. Volunteers in the main reception area can show you to your ward or you can pick up a map at reception. When you arrive at your ward, please ring the doorbell to let us know you have arrived.

We will open the door as quickly as we can, but please be aware this may not be for a minute or two if we are very busy with other children.

Settling in to the ward

A nurse will show you around the ward and fill out some forms with you. We will also check your child's height, weight, temperature, pulse and blood pressure.

Your nurse will also make sure your child is as comfortable as possible, asking 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 GOSH.

Meeting the ward doctor

A doctor will then 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's consultant may not be at every ward round but we can assure you that the consultant is kept fully informed of your child's progress.

If you would like to speak to your child's consultant, please ask the nurses to arrange this, as the consultant may not be free to visit straightaway, particularly if they are in clinic or the operating theatre.

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.

Ward Housekeepers

Each ward has their own housekeeper who is here to make the stay of patients and their families as comfortable as possible.

Working in partnership with staff and parents, their aim is to try and adapt the environment in order to meet any diverse and special environmental needs of the children in their care, supporting those who provide direct patient care.

Among other things 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

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 Restaurant and on the ward. Kosher meals are also available on request.

All children's food, except for special diets from the Dietetics department, are provided by the main kitchen between 7am and 7pm, every day.

Your ward housekeeper will provide a breakfast of cereals and toast on the ward. Your child can order lunch and supper from the menu, which is in a folder beside each bed.

The kitchen provides freshly made healthy meals, lighter snack-type meals, salads and sandwiches. The main menu is influenced by a range of cultural backgrounds, but we also offer halal and kosher food too - just write it on the menu form.

For dessert, there are freshly made puddings, as well as yoghurts, ice cream and fruit. 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, they can choose something from the Croc Menu, which includes hot and cold meals.


Each ward has a playroom or play area where your child/young person and family can play together. The ward Playworker or Play Specialist can arrange some resources if there is something in particular you’re missing from home or your child can play with the toys, books and art materials available there.

Unless a member of the play team is engaged with your child/young person you must supervise them in the playroom.