Keeping in touch with patients

We understand how difficult it must be for families and loved ones at this time. There are a number of ways that you can keep in touch.

Message to a loved one

If you have a relative who has been admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead and you would like to send them a message, letter or photograph, please send it by email to:

Please can letters, messages or photographs be a maximum of one A4 side of paper per day. The Patient Experience Team will try their best to ensure that all patients receive their messages Monday-Friday.

If you do not have access to email and would still like to send your loved one a short message, please telephone 0191 445 6047 or 0191 445 6129 between 10am and 12pm, Monday to Friday.

To make sure we get to the right person we also need you to include:

  • the patient's name

  • the ward number or name

  • either the date of birth or the address of the patient

If we are unable to verify these details unfortunately we will not be able to deliver the message. All letters will be screened by the Patient Experience team before they are printed and given to a patient.

Virtual Visiting

Each ward has been issued with an iPad for ‘virtual visiting’. These allow patients to use Skype or Facetime to video call with their relatives.

These devices do not allow incoming calls so if you would like a relative to contact you via the iPad, why not contact them via a Message to A Loved One detailed above and let them know your Facetime or Skype account details.

Please remember that the wards are very busy and every patient may not get the chance to video call every day but we will do our best to make this happen when we can.

If a patient already has their own mobile smart phone, please could you video call them using their own device.

Give and Go drop-off scheme

Operating out of the main entrance of the QE Hospital, our Give and Go scheme is a drop-off service which allows friends or family of a patient to deliver essential belongings for the patient while they are staying on one of our wards.

Operating times for this service are between 12:00pm - 4:00pm between Monday to Friday. 

Please only bring one small bag per patient, and ensure that the bag is sealed (for example a rucksack or carrier bag sealed with tape). Please ensure this bag is marked with the patient's name, ward details and date of birth. Wherever possible, we ask only one person attends the hospital to hand in these belongings.

Within bags we can accept personal items and items of comfort - a more detailled list can be found below. You'll be able to drop essential items to our response volunteers who will deliver these to the ward for your loved one. Please ensure you maintain social distancing while using this service and wear a mask when on-site. Many people wish to bring food, and while we understand why this is important, we ask that you please only send small items of food that do not need to be refrigerated or reheated.

Allowed Items:

  • Toiletries (washbag)
  • Mobile phones, chargers, kindles, iPads, E-readers
  • Clothing and footwear
  • Hearing aids, glasses, dentures (must be in a protective container)
  • Snacks in their original sealed packaging
  • Books, magazines
Items not allowed:
  • Food that requires refrigeration or reheating
  • Smoking/tobacco materials
  • Medication, drugs, alcohol
  • Money, bank cards
  • Jewellery
  • Flowers
  • Takeaway food
  • Balloons
  • Fans, kettles etc

Please do notuse this service if you are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19.

'Dear Friend' scheme

Could you be a friend and bring some happiness to someone in hospital? We know that not everyone will receive a letter or message from their loved ones while they are in hospital and so we invite anyone, old or young, to write an anonymous letter to someone in hospital.

Here is some advice for you to follow:


  • Address the letter ‘Dear friend’

  • Share general information such as your hobbies, garden, seasonal anecdotes (the daffodils in your garden, visiting birds etc)

  • Offer some reminiscence opportunities – your favourite places, childhood memories, favourite food etc

  • You might want to draw a picture of gardens, animals and pets, artworks, coastal views etc – all help to stimulate conversations and memories

  •  Ask questions to encourage the patient to think about their own lives – for example, ‘I always enjoy a Sunday roast. What’s your favourite meal?’

  • Encourage the recipient to follow government guidance on keeping themselves safe

  • Keep your message or letter to a maximum of one A4 side of paper

  • Sign your letter with your first name only



  • Add any details that will identify you specifically – address, date of birth, age etc

  • Be political or share conspiracy theories

You can email your anonymous letter to a patient to:

(These letters will be screened by the Patient Experience team before they are printed and given to a patient).

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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