Before your stay

This page will provide you with the information you will need to know before your inpatient stay. If you have any queries before your stay, please get in touch.

You will have received a letter to tell you when you need to come to hospital and where you should go.

If you or your family have any particular requirements such as a special dietary requirement, disability or you need an interpreter, please call the ward you will be staying on to let them know before you come and we will do our best to help. Find contact details for your ward.

What to bring with you

  • Your inhaler, tablets or any medicines you are taking, even over the counter. (If you take regular medicines, a copy of the printed ‘repeat prescription slip’ from your GP surgery would be very helpful.)
  • Night clothes, slippers (non-slip) and dressing gown.
  • Comfortable clothes or tracksuit.
  • Toiletries (e.g. towel, soap, flannel, toothbrush, hairbrush, shaving kit, cosmetics).
  • Glasses or contact lenses and solution, hearing aid or dentures if you use them.

You may also want to bring writing materials, books or magazines and a small amount of money for newspapers and small purchases. It’s also a good idea to make sure anything you bring with you is clearly marked with your name.

You can bring your phone or your laptop with you as well, but please bear in mind that using these can disturb other patients so it’s best to bring headphones as well.

Please try to avoid bringing valuables or large sums of money into hospital because we can’t accept responsibility for items that are lost if you don’t ask us to look after them. You can give them to the nurse to take to the cashier’s office for safekeeping during your stay.

Before you leave for hospital

Whilst we do everything we can to make sure you are admitted to hospital on the date planned, because we deal with emergencies, on rare occasions we may have to reschedule.

Please phone the ward before you leave home to check that a bed is available for you.

Updating your personal information

Please help ensure that the information we hold about you is up-to-date via this link –, or using the QR code below.  We will ensure your information is processed in line with UK Data Protection laws.

QR code for a form to update your personal information

Travelling to the hospital

You’ll need to arrange for your own transport to get to the hospital. If this isn’t possible, or you think you will need some help, please visit the transport and transport costs section on our practical help and advice page for more details on the support we may be able to offer. You can also find details there about how we can help you get to and from the mainland if you live on the Isles of Scilly.

Single rooms

Sometimes single rooms (amenity beds) may be available for patients who wish to use them. There is a charge for this facility. For further details please contact Patient Services on 01872 252963.

What happens when you arrive?

When you arrive at the hospital, go to the ward shown in your admission letter. (Find directions to each or our wards here, or ask any staff on reception for directions when you arrive).

You’ll be met at the ward reception by a member of staff who can answer any questions and help you get settled in.

Don’t forget to tell your doctor or nurse about all the medicines you are taking, even those you have bought over the counter. They will check that all the medicines you need are available from hospital stock, then your relative or friend can take your own medicines home if you wish.

Your care team

Many people will be involved in looking after you during your stay. This section will help you work out who’s who and what they do. All our staff have to wear an official Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust identity badge with their photograph and title. If you’re not sure who someone is, or what they do, just ask.


You’ll be under the overall care of a senior doctor, called a consultant. Your consultant is in charge of a team of doctors with differing levels of experience. They’ll work together to look after you, and one or more of them will visit you regularly. If you want to speak to your named consultant about your treatment at any time, please just ask.


A team of qualified nurses will look after you, supervised by a senior sister (female) or charge nurse (male). Nurses work in shifts, covering the ward 24 hours a day. Shifts change early in the morning, in early to mid-afternoon and in the late evening. As the shifts change, nurses going off duty tell those just starting about each patient on the ward and how they’re doing.


Matrons cover several wards. One of their most important jobs is to make sure patient care and treatment are always of the highest possible standard. Please ask to see the matron if you’d like to discuss any aspect of your care.


Medical, nursing and therapy students are often involved in giving care. This will always be supervised by trained staff and we always ask whether you mind students being involved in your care; it helps them learn and benefits their progress, so we would appreciate your agreement to this.

However, if you’d prefer not, please let your nurse or doctor know, and don’t worry, your decision changes nothing about the treatment and care you receive. For the avoidance of doubt, all decisions about your treatment and care are always be made by trained staff, never by students.

Other staff

You’ll probably also meet other staff who do different things, such as; physiotherapists, radiographers, occupational therapists, porters, catering staff, domestic staff and ward clerks.

If you can’t work out who’s who, just ask our staff. These specialist staff wear different uniforms; they’ll be happy to explain who they are and what their role is in your care.

The Mitie Team

The Mitie Team deliver a range of hotel services at all three of our hospitals. These include:

  • Cleaning
  • Portering
  • Security
  • Catering
  • Waste Management
  • Switchboard & Helpdesk
  • Post Room

You can recognise the Mitie team by the uniform they wear, either purple polo shirts or black or white shirts and blouses all bearing the Mitie logo.

The team from Mitie support the Royal Cornwall Hospitals staff so they can focus on the important job of patient care, and the team work hard to deliver the best possible level of service across all of the areas they are responsible for. Their contract began in October 2014 and will run for seven years.

Other uniforms

Some of our nurses wear red ‘do not disturb’ tabards while giving medication to patients. This helps patients by making sure they get the medication they need.

Page last reviewed: 27 April 2023

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