If you’ve been referred to hospital for an operation or test and you need to stay overnight, it means you're being treated as an inpatient.

Once your appointment has been made, you’ll receive a letter from us with everything you need to know.

On the day of your appointment, go to the department named on your letter. A member of staff will welcome you to the hospital and explain the process to you. They’ll also give you an identity bracelet to wear during your stay.

When you arrive on the ward, please wash your hands with the hand gel provided. Doing this helps us to minimise the spread of infection.

During your stay, you’ll have a team of people involved in your care. Usually, a consultant will have overall responsibility for your care but if you have any questions, you can ask a member of the ward team.

Meet our consultants

  • your admission letter
  • medicines prescribed by your GP in their original packaging
  • your repeat prescription sheet from your GP
  • tablet organiser box or reminder chart if you use one
  • glasses, hearing aids, walking aids
  • pyjamas or nightdress
  • slippers or flat non-slip shoes
  • dressing gown
  • a comfortable set of day clothes
  • toiletries and towel
  • hairbrush and shaving equipment
  • sanitary or incontinence products
  • a book, magazine or mp3 player
  • a favourite toy (if you’re packing for your child)
  • money to spend in the hospital (check your hospital’s facilities here)

Please do not bring valuables, jewellery or large sums of money into the hospital. We do our best to make sure our wards are safe and secure but we cannot accept liability for damaged, lost or stolen personal items.


It is important that we have a clear record of everything you take. When you arrive in hospital, please show the ward staff all the medicines that you take, including:

  • tablets
  • liquids
  • creams
  • eye drops
  • inhalers
  • sprays
  • insulin
  • patches
  • herbal and homeopathic medicine

Your medicines will be stored in a lockable cabinet beside your bed. Any additional medicines you need will be provided by the hospital pharmacy.

Mobile phones, tablets and laptops

Mobile phones, tablets and laptops are allowed in hospital. However, you will not be able to charge your laptop as they cannot be plugged in to our electrical system.

There are some areas of the hospital where mobile phones cannot be used. This will be clearly signposted.

Please do not take any photographs on your mobile phone or tablet while you’re in hospital. This is to protect patient confidentiality.

You can find out about meal times and facilities like wifi, cafes, shops and spiritual care available at your hospital on our Location pages.

We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during your stay with us. All our wards are same sex wards.

There are some circumstances when men and women might have to share the same ward, such as urgent situations where patients need highly specialised care.

When we make this decision, we take into account the patients who’ll be affected and move them into same sex accommodation as quickly as possible. 

You might be asked to sign a consent form for your treatment. You can refuse treatment at any time, even if you have signed a consent form. You can read more about consenting to treatment on the NHS website. 

You can read more about having surgery and what it involves on the NHS website. You can also download leaflets about the different types of anaesthesia here.

Your visitors are very welcome at our hospitals. You can find out about visiting times for the different hospitals on our Location pages.

Rest is an essential part of your recovery, so we ask that no more than 2 people visit you at any one time. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Please ask your relatives and friends not to visit you if they are suffering or recovering from:

  • colds
  • coughs
  • flu
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting

All our hospitals are smoke free sites. This means there’s no smoking allowed anywhere on the property. This includes outside entrances and in our car parks and grounds.

If you’d like a temporary nicotine replacement, you can ask ward staff to give this to you. You can also use e-cigarettes and vapes outside the hospital, if you stand 10 metres away from the building.

If you’d like help to quit smoking, support is available. Visit nhs.uk/smokefree to find out more. 

During your stay with us, we’ll talk to you and your family about how you’ll be cared for after leaving the hospital.

We'll give you an estimate for when we think you'll be ready to go home so you can make arrangements to be picked up. If it looks like you'll be able to leave earlier or you’ll have to stay longer than expected, we'll tell you in plenty of time.

Leaving hospital check list:
  • tell your friends, family and neighbours that you’re coming home
  • make sure you’ve got enough money to pay for transport and top up your gas and electric meters (some of our hospitals have cash points you can use)
  • make sure you have all your belongings
  • keep your house keys handy
  • return any hospital property
  • make sure the Ward Clerk has your address and GP information
  • ask for your discharge letter
  • ask if you need an outpatients appointment
  • ask for your medication and make sure there’s enough to last until you see your GP

If you need any additional medication to continue your treatment at home, we’ll give this to you before you go. Please make sure you know how to take it before you leave, we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

After you leave, we’ll write to your GP to let them know about your care in hospital. We’ll also let them know if they need to make changes to your repeat prescriptions.

Discharge Lounge

If you’re staying at Cumberland Infirmary or West Cumberland Hospital, you might be moved to the Discharge Lounge. This is a comfy place where you can wait for your medication letters or transport home. The lounge has a dedicated nursing team who’ll look after you while you’re there.

Transport home

Your doctor might organise for you to be taken home by the Patient Transport Service. If not, you’ll need to make your own arrangements for going home.

If you’re on a low income or receive benefits, you could be entitled to get help with your travel costs. You can find out if you are eligible here.