New services help patients stay connected

Posted on Thu, 16/04/2020

Staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead have launched several new services that are designed to help patients and their loved ones stay in touch while ward visits are suspended.

The new ‘Message to A Loved One’ service will help keep patients and their family and friends in contact with one another during the Covid-19 crisis. People can send a message to a dedicated email address, which will then be passed on to the patient.

Messages can be sent to

To make sure it gets to the right person, you must also include:

  • the patient’s name

  • the ward number or name

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

For those who don't have access to email, they can phone 0191 445 6047 or 0191 445 6129 between 10am and 12pm, Monday to Friday.

Meanwhile, the new ‘Dear Friend’ service encourages members of the public, of any age, to send in a letter anonymously which can then be passed on to those patients who may not receive any communication from family or friends.

Also, each ward has been issued with an iPad for ‘virtual visiting’ via Skype or FaceTime, and the bedside entertainment system is now free at the point of use for patients, so they can make calls free-of-charge and watch a range of TV channels.

Carolyn Harper, assistant director of quality at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This is a difficult time for everyone and we hope these new services will bring some comfort and cheer to our patients who are currently in hospital and missing their loved ones.  We know when someone is in hospital, having contact with someone, whether that be family, friends or even a well-wishing stranger, is all part of the recovery process."

For more information on the service, and all the other ways you can keep in touch with patients at the hospital, visit

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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