Practical help and advice

This page provides practical help and advice for using the services at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. Please use the above page contents list to jump to the relevant information.


We are working to make our hospitals accessible for anyone with an impairment and have a range of ways we help make your trip to hospital easier. If you would like us to make special arrangements for a particular disability, please contact the department or ward you are coming to and we will do our best to meet your needs.

People with mobility difficulties

All of our main entrances have level access and are wheelchair-friendly. We also have coin-operated wheelchairs available.

Where to borrow a wheelchair for your visit

  • Royal Cornwall Hospital – Trelawny Entrance, Tower Entrance, Link Corridor Entrance (by Lowen Ward) and Maternity Entrance
  • St Michaels Hospital – Main Entrance
  • West Cornwall Hospital – Main Entrance

The chairs are operated by a £1 coin and they do not accept cards; however there is a cashpoint and a shop in the foyer there – there is also a receptionist there who can usually let a wheelchair out for you.

These wheelchairs are push only and are not able to be self-operated. Porters are available to push patients to their appointments.

Disabled Parking

All of our car parks have disabled spaces available close to our main entrances. Don’t forget to display your blue badge and make a note of any time restrictions or charges.

Hearing Loops

Many of our reception areas are fitted with loop systems to help people with hearing loss.

British Sign Language Interpreters

If you would like a BSL interpreter to help you communicate with hospital staff, please contact the department where your appointment is due as soon as possible. This information should be on your hospital appointment letter.

Patients with Learning Disabilities

We have a specialist team that offers support for patients with learning disabilities. This helps to prepare them for coming to hospital and provides additional help during their stay. 

Adult Changing Place at the Royal Cornwall Hospital

A Changing Place is an accessible bathroom facility with additional equipment to support visitors with severe mobility needs to attend to their personal hygiene needs.

Anyone in the area with additional mobility needs can use the adult changing place. You’ll need a RADAR key to unlock the door, if you don’t have one, you can borrow one from the Trelawny Wing reception desk, or out of hours, from the Acute Medical Unit (AMU).

The bathroom is located on the first floor of the Trelawny Wing (main entrance level) towards the end of the corridor on the left, and is open 24 hours a day.

The adult changing place has the following equipment:

  • Height-adjustable, adult-sized, wall-mounted changing bench
  • Ceiling track hoist (loop system)
  • The toilet is centrally placed with room either side for the carers
  • The shower is wall mounted and can be used with or without the bench

Website accessibility

For information about this website’s accessibility, please visit our accessibility statement.

Accessible Information Standard

The Accessible Information Standard (NHS England) tells organisations how to make information accessible to patients, service users and their carers or parents whose needs relate to a disability, impairment, or sensory loss.

Please see our Accessible Information Standard help page.

Bereavement services

For patients who have passed away in hospital, we have a dedicated bereavement service to support you during this difficult time.

How can the bereavement team help?

The team will prepare the necessary paperwork and liaise with other people that may be helping you with arrangements such as funeral directors. They can also arrange for you to see your loved one.

Please visit the Bereavement services page for more information.

Information for carers

Maintenance at our hospitals

The Estates Department looks after the general maintenance and upkeep of our three hospitals. If you spot a maintenance issue whilst at any of our hospital sites, please let us know as soon as possible.

You can either speak to any member of staff, or report it directly to the Estates Helpdesk:


01872 253400 between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.

In Person

The Estates Helpdesk is located opposite the post room in the link corridor between Trelawny Wing and the Tower Block at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. It’s open 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Out of Hours

Please call the Royal Cornwall Hospital switchboard on 01872 250000.


We are dedicated to providing high quality, tasty, balanced and nutritious food for all of our patients. To meet this standard, we have a dedicated food production unit with a purpose-built facility in Redruth.

The team have a strong focus on using fresh quality produce from sustainable sources. At present 85% of the produce in all our meals is locally sourced. All food is “safe”, and either meets or exceeds CQC and HACCP standards.

Meals are produced on site by dedicated chefs using traditional cooking techniques. Main meals are then frozen on site ready to be reheated at the hospitals using an innovative mobile oven developed specifically for this purpose. This means that all of the goodness and nutrients are preserved, and that the meals are served at the correct temperature for every single patient. We can cater for a range of special diets, so please just let the nurses know if you have any special food or drink requirements.

Organ Donation

PASS IT ON – the law around organ donation is changing…

Every day across the UK, someone dies waiting for an organ transplant.

What is changing

From spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they had recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups. This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt-out’ system.

Those excluded will be:

  • people under 18
  • people who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death or who are not
    living here voluntarily
  • people who lack the capacity to understand the change.

Adults covered by the change will still have a choice whether they want to be an organ donor and their families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead.

Whatever decision people make, they should make their choice clear to their family and closest friends to help ensure that choice is honoured.

Find out more here:

Patient Consent

You are in control of your treatment and care. We follow a process of patient consent and we must record that an individual has been provided with sufficient information to make an informed choice to go ahead with a procedure or test.

While there may be ethical dilemmas relating to consent in certain circumstances, much of the time clear principles exist to guide the process.

We will document information given to patients, both written and verbal.

Anyone taking consent for a particular procedure must either be;

  • The person carrying out the procedure or,
  • A person capable of carrying out the procedure independently or,
  • A person who has been trained in taking consent for that procedure.

Your clinician may talk to you about recording your consent or may give you a ‘Procedure Specific Consent Form’ which will provide written information about the procedure and a form for you to sign that you consent for the treatment to go ahead.

If there are concerns about an individual’s mental capacity to consent to treatment then this will be discussed and there is a legal process to follow.

We are committed to the principle of ‘no decision about me without me’, and please feel free to ask any questions at any time about your consent to treatment and care.

Patient Information Leaflets

We produce a range of patient information leaflets. Your doctor or nurse may give you any that are relevant.

If you need any booklet or information leaflet in large print, braille, audio format or in another language, please ask your nurse.

Spiritual, religious and cultural needs

Spiritual care is usually given on a one-to-one basis, is completely person-centred, and makes no assumptions about personal conviction or life orientation. Religious care is given in the context of the shared religious beliefs, values, liturgies and lifestyle of a faith community or belief group.

Spiritual care is often used as the overall term and is relevant for all. For some, their spiritual needs are met by religious care. The visits, prayers, worship, rites, and sacraments are often provided by a faith leader, or representative of the faith community or belief group. Spiritual care can be provided by all healthcare staff, by carers, families and other patients. When a person is treated with respect, when they are listened to in a meaningful way, when they are seen and treated as a whole person within the context of their life, values and beliefs, then they are receiving spiritual care.

Hospital Chaplains

Chaplains are the specialist spiritual care providers. Our Spiritual & Pastoral Care Team visit wards regularly and Chaplains are also available on call. They can be reached on 01872 252883 or through the switchboard on 01872 250000 out of hours.

The Chaplains work closely with all faith communities, so if you would like us to contact your own priest, minister or faith community leader, we can do that for you.

Hospital Chapels

There are hospital chapels at each of our hospitals, they are open to all and staff or chaplaincy team can let you know exactly how to find them. We also have further prayer and quiet rooms available at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

A copy of the New Testament and Psalms is provided by the Gideons in bedside lockers. The chaplaincy office also keeps some texts for the major world faiths and will happily lend them on request.

Spiritual or religious needs that affect your care

Please let us know if there’s anything you feel we should know when providing your care (whether it’s to do with prayer, diet, use of blood products, washing / ablution, etc.)

If you require a special diet during your stay in hospital, please tell us as soon as possible so we can make sure we have the correct food available.

Transport and transport costs

Help with transport to and from your hospital appointment

TAP (Transport Access Patients) coordinates a fleet of car drivers across Cornwall who can organise a lift for you. They can arrange for a car or an accessible mini-bus if you have a wheelchair or walking frame. There is a charge for this service (payable per mile) and you can travel alone or with friends or family. You can contact TAP on 01872 223388.

Volunteer Cornwall also provide a similar service, again, charged by the mile. Contact them on 01872 265300.

There are also a range of community transport schemes running throughout the county. Please visit the Cornwall Council Community Transport page for more information.

Help with transport and parking costs

If you receive Income Support or other benefits, you might be able to reclaim your travel and parking expenses under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. More information about the scheme and details of how to claim are available on NHS Choices.

To reclaim your expenses you’ll need to take your travel receipts, appointment letter or card, and proof that you are receiving one of the qualifying benefits to the General Office. Details of the general offices are here:

Non-emergency Patient Transport Services

The Patient Transport Service (PTS) provide free transport to and from hospital for people who need the support of clinically trained staff or specialist equipment during or after their journey.

Your GP or the healthcare professional who referred you to hospital will discuss with you whether you have a medical need for transport, and explain what happens if you do.

Information for patients from the Isles of Scilly

The Patient Transport Service at the Royal Cornwall Hospital will be able to help you with any transport questions you have about getting to or from the Isles of Scilly. They are open from 8am until 8pm, Monday to Friday, and from 10:30am to 5pm at the weekends, on 01872 252211.

For both planned and emergency stays, the Trust will cover the cost of your flights to and from the mainland. There is a £5 admin fee for planned stays, that you will need to pay before you travel to hospital. You will not need to pay this if you come in as an emergency admission.

You’ll also need to arrange transport between the hospital and the airport.

If you came in as an emergency, don’t worry. The Patient Transport Service can help you plan your journey home and if you’re being transferred to another hospital. All the arrangements will be made for you.

If you need to alter your return flight, or if your flight is delayed or cancelled, contact the Patient Transport Service for advice, quoting the booking reference on your ticket. They can also book your return flight if you haven’t done so yet.

If you can’t travel home the same day you leave hospital, you might be able to stay in alternative accommodation. Speak to the team at the Patient Transport Service or ask the staff on your ward to get in touch on your behalf.

Before going home

Before you go home don’t forget to ask your ward team…

  • Have they made an assessment that you’re medically fit to travel to the airport and then by air?
  • Will you be physically able to board the aircraft?
  • If you live on an off­-island, will you be able to manage the boat trip from St Mary’s?
  • Have they assessed whether you’ll need an escort and, if you do, made the necessary arrangements?

Useful phone numbers

Page last reviewed: 3 May 2023

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