PLEASE NOTE in the light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have created an FAQ with COVID-19 information for children, young people and families at GOSH which highlights updates to our facilities and services.
This section explains about the facilities and amenities available at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
You can also find out more about our facilities by watching our hospital virtual tour.
Please use the links below to find the information you are looking for:
- Food at GOSH
- Facilities for parents and visitors
- Phones and internet
- Health, safety and security
- Things to do in the hospital
- Things to do around the hospital
- Support for new mums
- Support and advice
Parent and family accommodation
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.
For further information is also available in our family accommodation page.
Parents and carers are welcome on the wards 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.
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 produce, using the best quality ingredients available, organic products are used 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, food service in The Lagoon restaurant, and the patient food service delivery with the exception of breakfasts and out of hours snacks for children on the wards.
GOSH food facilities (126.7 KB)
Children’s meals on the ward
Your ward housekeeper liaises with the patients and families to ensure choices are detailed to the kitchen production team working seven days a week to prepare patients' meals for the wards.
There are lots of choices, from main meals (which include halal and vegetarian options) and there are also lighter snack meals, salads and sandwiches available. Three vegetables are provided as a choice along with three potato options and rice. For dessert, there are freshly made puddings, yoghurts, ice creams and fresh fruit which are ordered on request.
For further information about menu choices, please see our ward menus pages.
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 or as directed by your child’s clinical team. Lunch is delivered to the ward between 11.45am and 12.30pm and supper from 3.45pm and 5.15pm. If your child wants a meal outside of the regular serving hours, he or she can choose something from the ward provisions choices.
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.
Meals are not provided on the wards for parents, but food and drink can be purchased from various places in the hospital and local area. Most wards have a kitchen where you can prepare a hot drink or snack.
During the COVID-19 situation our Lagoon opening times have been extended to ensure families and staff can access hot and cold food when they need it. Check our COVID-19 FAQs for the latest opening times.
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 by the main reception area.
Launderette facilities for families are available in the hospital. You will find the laundrette on level 2 in the Nurses Home building. 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.
Toilets and changing facilities
There are toilets and baby and disabled changing facilities at various locations throughout the hospital - please see the map in the main reception 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.
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 (by the main reception) for directions.
The Pharmacy is where you can pick up any medicines prescribed for your child. It is located in the main reception. 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.
We provide free Wi-Fi access to patients and visitors to enable access to the internet, and this can be accessed on your device using the Wi-Fi connection setting to connect to the GOSH-Guest network and following the simple instructions to self-register with your e-mail address.
Internet access is provided via the London Grid for Learning – an educational network – so content filters are in place to protect children and young people from accessing inappropriate content. Every page visited is logged so that we can contact you if we have any concerns.
Further information is available from ward or reception staff. Also see our information sheet about accessing the internet.
GOSH guest Wifi instructions (384.67 KB)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit AccessAble for accessibility information.
GOSH is a smoke-free zone, which means that you cannot smoke anywhere inside hospital property and adjacent areas, such as entrances to hospital buildings.
The Activity Centre
The Activity Centre is for inpatients, outpatients and siblings of all ages and abilities, from 0-19 years old. It is on level 2 of the Southwood Building.
It offers a welcoming recreational space with educational and fun toys, games and lots of arts and crafts resources. We also have a selection of ICT equipment and plenty of books and DVDs too.
The activity centre is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4.30pm. We close at lunchtime 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Please note on Wednesdays we close at 3.30pm. It also remains open during school holiday periods, including over summer and half terms, when the hospital school closes. Have a look at the activity centre timetable to find our what is happening when.
An interactive touchscreen entertainment system is provided at most inpatient bed spaces to deliver entertainment to your child. The system provides access to Hospital Information, TV, radio, audio books, games and the internet.
If you have any questions about this, please ask your nurse.
The GOSH Arts 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 GOSH Arts pages.
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.
Some wards have sensory rooms, which feature a variety of specialist equipment including bubble tubes, multimedia projectors and fibre-optics, as well as elements from playrooms, such as a cushioned play area and smaller toys.
The rooms are used to aid a child’s communication, concentration, co-ordination, social and emotional skills, and also serve as a calming environment. The therapeutic nature of sensory rooms can also be extended to patients who cannot leave their bed, with mobile equipment that can be taken to the bedside.
As well as serving as a therapy room and playroom for children at the hospital, they are often used for children who have multiple disabilities, where sensory perception may be one of their only communication tools.
Multi-sensory environments have been recognised as beneficial to neurology patients with a wide range of conditions, ranging from memory dysfunction to speech problems. Children from the neurology, neurosurgery and craniofacial specialties use the Koala Ward sensory room. There are also sensory rooms on Eagle and Sky Wards, as well as in the activity centre. The rooms are available to book, and other wards are invited to use them.
The Children's Hospital 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. The school is found on level 2 of the Southwood Building.
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
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.
Eating out around GOSH
The local area has plenty of eating places, particularly around Lamb's Conduit Street, Marchmont Street and in the Brunswick Shopping Centre. For suggestions about places to eat in the local area, please ask at the Pals office by the main reception.
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. The play space includes an innovative sensory garden and carousel, and is designed for enjoyment by all children. The area is completely wheelchair accessible and suitable for all children to play together.
GOSH is regularly offered free or reduced price tickets to plays and other attractions in London. There is an independent cinema in the nearby Brunswick Centre. For more information, please ask at the Pals office by main reception.
There are a number of parks near the hospital, including Russell Square, Queen's Square and Brunswick Square Gardens.
There are many museums in London, but the most local one to the hospital is the British Museum, located on Great Russell Street, WC1B.
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.
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.
If you have any questions about breastfeeding or would like some advice, please ask a member of staff to contact our neonatal nursing advisor.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (Pals)
The Pals office can be found in the main reception area. They can talk through any concerns with you, find health information and liaise with staff around the hospital. They are open from 10am to 5pm from Mondays to Fridays. Ring them on extension 7862, email them at email@example.com or visit their pages online.
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.
For more information, please see our page on giving feedback and raising concerns.
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.
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.
St Christopher’s Chapel on level 2 of the Variety Club Building is always open. We also have a multifaith room on level 2 in the Southwood building available for prayer. 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.
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.
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.