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Support accessing appointments during COVID-19

If you have concerns about accessing appointments in person or online, we have brought together advice and support for you, based on the most common problems people are facing.

I’m worried about entering an NHS building

Read about all things being done to keep you safe 

I don’t feel confident getting public transport/taxis

Advice from Travel South Yorkshire and City Taxis.

From Travel South Yorkshire

  • We’re advising people across South Yorkshire to consider all other forms of transport, such as cycling and walking, before using public transport
  • While our public transport network continues to run, our priority is the safety of our customers and our staff. We need everyone to play their part to help people who need to travel to stay safe.
  • Anyone feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough, loss of sense of taste or smell, or a high temperature – should not travel, to help to protect others from infection.
  • Stay local and walk or cycle if you can, where this is not possible use public transport.
  • Avoid peak times and think about the routes and ways you travel, so that everyone has more space to stay safe.
  • Protect yourself and others by the government guidelines on social distancing wherever possible, both on vehicles and while waiting at bus stops or at Interchanges.
  • You must wear a face covering when using public transport – you could be refused entry if you are not. From Friday 24 July, you’ll need to wear a face covering in interchanges and stations, as well as on board public transport. Find out more on the website.
  • Carry your own hand sanitiser with you. Wash or use sanitiser on your hands before and after using public transport and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues.
  • Please follow the instructions on our notices or given by staff
  • Be patient and kind to other passengers and staff
  • Your journey may take longer than normal and some routes may be busier than usual, but please be patient and considerate of staff and other customers during your journey.
  • It is likely that buses will reach capacity quickly and customers waiting at a bus stop may see buses drive past with ‘Bus Full’ signs on their destination screens.
  • When buses have reached capacity (all available seats taken) the driver will only pull up at the stop to let a passenger get on if a passenger needs to get off. A strict ‘one-off, one-on’ policy will be in place. First and Stagecoach have updated their apps to show capacity indicators. You can find out more on our ‘When is the best time to travel’ page.
  • You will need to allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to wait.
  • While capacity is reduced on buses, there may be more people waiting to board the last bus than the bus is able to carry. If this happens, operator bus drivers will be able to get in touch with the depot for assistance. You may also wish to consider alternative means of travel to complete your journey.
  • As always, bus drivers will use their discretion when it comes to vulnerable customers.
  • You must wear a face covering when using public transport to maintain a safer environment and prevent spreading the virus – you could be refused entry if you are not.
  • From Friday 24 July, you’ll need to wear a face covering in interchanges and stations as well as on board public transport.
  • A face covering is a cloth covering that covers your nose and mouth – you should make or buy your own. You can find out how to wear and make a face covering on the website.
  • Children under 11 don’t need to wear a face covering and exemptions will apply to some passengers due to health conditions or disabilities. This includes people who have breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions, visual impairments or mental health conditions. You can find a list of exemptions on the website exemptions page.
  • If you have a health condition which means you’re unable to wear a face covering, you’ll need to let staff on board know. If it’s easier for you, you can download our journey assistance cards and you can show the face covering exemption card when you travel.
  • Your driver may not be wearing a face covering if they are behind a screen, as the screen helps to provide protection.
  • You can find out more about the regulations on the website.
  • We’re working closely with bus, tram and rail companies to reassure people who need to travel that we’re doing all we can to keep our customers safe and allow them to make the journeys they need to.
  • We’ve put focused cleaning regimes in place at all our interchanges which include extra attention to ensure doors, handrails, lifts and ticket machines remain disinfected.
  • Our toilets are free until further notice to give everyone access to handwashing.
  • We’re introducing barriers where needed, creating separate entrance and exit points to interchanges, with separate boarding and alighting where possible along with indoor and outdoor queue management.
  • We’re working closely with local authorities to agree how to safely manage shared space to regulate customer numbers at interchanges and enable social distancing.
  • Public transport operators have stringent procedures in place to keep vehicles clean, with extra focus on common areas of customers contact. Specific measures include:
  • increased cleaning frequency of all grab rails and poles, entrance door handles, window ledges and other touchpoints;
  • encouraging staff to increase their handwashing frequency, and providing additional cleaning facilities to enable them to do so;
  • displaying NHS advice on vehicle;
  • continuing to offer contactless payment on vehicle; and exact fare only cash payments to minimise contact.
  • We will continue to listen to customer feedback and monitor travel patterns to make service changes where they’re needed to help customers travel safely.
  • You can play your part by walking or cycling if you can, and if you use public transport keep your distance from each other in interchanges and when queuing at bus stops.
  • Notices and floor markers at stops will help people to stay safe.
  • You must wear a face covering when you use public transport. From Friday 24 July, you’ll need to wear a face covering in interchanges and stations, as well as on board public transport.
  • Sit apart from others on buses, trams and trains. Seats will be marked as available onboard to help you distance.
  • If you can, use the upper deck on any double deck buses or take the window seat to leave more space.

We’ve implemented a number of social distancing measures at our interchanges to keep you and our people safe.

This includes:

  • limiting the number of team members at our customer services desks
  • installing screens and floor vinyls to help you move around our interchanges safely.
  • PA systems will also share the latest government advice.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and our toilets are free to use to ensure you can wash your hands regularly.
  • Interchange keyworker adding floor vinyl


  • In order to enable social distancing, buses will be operating at a reduced capacity with 45% of seats (just less than one in every two seats) being available for customers and no standing allowed. Operators are communicating with customers about how to social distance on board via:
  • Vehicle capacity signs and vinyls on each bus showing the maximum number of passengers that can be carried at any one time.
  • On First Group buses capacity is: Double decker – 31-35, Single decker- 17-19, Midi bus – 13-17.
  • On Stagecoach buses capacity is: Double decker – 32, Single decker- 19, Minibus – 11, Midi bus – 17
  • Posters on buses to clearly show where you should/shouldn’t sit to maintain a safe distance. You should only sit with somebody if they’re in your household or bubble.
  • On Stagecoach buses it’s one person per double seat. Leave the seat behind or next to someone empty.
  • Passengers are not permitted to stand on board vehicles.
  • New ‘Bus Full’ messages on vehicle destination boards to advise customers when a vehicle has reached its reduced capacity. Drivers will only allow another passenger to board if a passenger gets off.
  • Bus operator apps for First and Stagecoach have now been updated to add capacity checkers so you can see how busy your bus is and whether there is a seat free. Visit our ‘When is the best time to travel page’ for more information.


  • Supertram is currently determining the measures they will employ to enable social distancing on their tram and tram train vehicles. Measures being considered include:
  • Marking a number of seats out of use on tram (seats affected will be taped off and signed)
  • Vinyls on the doors of trams, both internal and external facing, with key safety messages
  • Posters on trams with key safety messages
  • Updating on-board audio announcements to raise awareness of seats marked ‘out of use’.


  • Each train operator is applying appropriate measures for each individual vehicle type to ensure social distancing can be achieved. These include:
  • Seat bands (or red and green labels) will be applied to indicate which seats are ‘out of use’ and where customers can sit to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Each operator will apply consideration where customers are travelling with companions and seating space need to be provided close together.
  • Hazard tape will be in place around control panels to ensure staff can access them safely.
  • Sections of the train will be isolated to segregate staff and customers.
  • Social distancing and signs in place at passenger touch points (in carriages, on doors etc.).
  • Signage on toilets encouraging social distancing when entering/exiting.
  • Posters to remind passengers to follow Government’s guidance on hygiene and handwashing.

From City Taxis:

The health and safety of our passengers, drivers and staff are our top priority.

We are actively monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and want to make sure City Taxis passengers and drivers are aware of the best ways to protect themselves and each other when travelling. We would also like to reassure passengers that all our drivers have been advised to closely follow the HSE guidelines.

  • Wash your hands well and often to avoid contamination.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing and discard used tissue into a bin.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Do not put others at risk and do not travel if you suspect you have any symptoms.
  • Choose card payment where possible and avoid using cash. This can be done by downloading the City Taxis App and adding your card details or following the guidelines to use Airpay when offered.
  • If you are feeling unwell visit the HSE website for guidance and we please ask you not to put others at risk by travelling.
  • We advise passengers to travel in the back seat of the taxi where possible.
  • You also have the option to request a taxi with a clear plastic screen fitted between the back and front seats. This can be requested on the app, IVR bookings or when booking over the phone.

We are working closely with drivers to offer the latest up to date information and advice based on HSE guidelines to keep you safe and have a dedicated response team to handle all queries and questions (details below). Drivers have been advised to continuously clean their vehicles following each journey. We are doing all we can to continue to safely get you where you need to be.

I don’t have a device that can take video calls

Government support during COVID-19

  • Laptops and tablets are being provided for disadvantaged families, children and young adults who do not currently have access to them through another source, such as their school. Digital devices can be requested for:
  • care leavers
  • children and young people aged 0 to 19, or young children’s families, with a social worker
  • disadvantaged year 10 pupils
  • Local authorities, academy trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools and social care have been invited to order devices. Schools, parents and pupils cannot apply for internet access or digital devices themselves.
  • Internet access is being provided through 4G wireless routers for people who do not currently have it.

Family Fund 

  • Provide grants to help families across the UK who are raising a disabled or seriously ill child or young person aged 17 or under.
  • Grants often provided for tablets and computers.

Everyone Can

  • Provide assistive technology (any technology which can assist or help with everyday tasks and challenges) to people with disabilities, including children and young people.
  • People with disabilities can self-refer or be referred by others for an assessment.

Guide Dogs

  • Parents and young people with sight loss can apply for a grant towards the cost of access technology, including laptops, tablets and computers.
  • Grant criteria

Turn 2 Us

  • Database of charities that offer non-repayable grants to help individuals on low incomes.
  • Offers search function based on individual’s circumstances.

Disability Grants 

Disability Grants also provides a guide to charities which have been known to fund ipads/tablets in the past or may consider applications. 

Get Online @ Home

  • Information provided by
  • Get Online @ Home supplies refurbished desktop PCs from £99, laptops from £169 and Windows 10 tablets from £139. Customers are eligible if any of the following apply:
    • They are a charity registered in the UK
    • They part of a low-income family that receives state benefits
    • They live in a community with “limited access” to technology
    • They have a disability
  • If a customer is looking to switch their broadband supplier at the same time, it’s also possible to get these machines even cheaper. Get Online @ Home have a deal with Carphone Warehouse where people who sign up to one of the approved ISPs can get a PC or Netbook free of charge, or a refurbished laptop for £59.
  • Customers who do not meet eligibility criteria can still purchase the refurbished equipment, but at a slightly higher price.

I can’t afford data for video call appointments

Government Statement on

  • A joint statement from the Government, Ofcom and the telecommunications industry.
  • The UK’s major internet service and mobile providers, namely BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM have all agreed to a number commitments, effective from March 2020, to support customers through COVID-19.
  • Attend Anywhere (the service we use for video calls) has been ‘whitelisted’ by mobile providers, meaning there will be no data usage incurred while using this service.

Anyone who receives one of the following benefits could get BT Basic:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Pensions Credit (Guaranteed Credit)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income related)
  • Universal Credit, with zero earnings
  • £5.16 per month for just phone calls, or £10.07 per month for phone calls and broadband.
  • The broadband has a 10Mb average download speed and is limited to 15GB usage per month. Customers will be charged for going over their limit.

Turn 2 Us 

  • Database of charities that offer non-repayable grants to help individuals on low incomes.
  • Offers search function based on individuals’ circumstances.

The Charity Commission

  • Search for particular charities according to personal circumstances.

Disability Grants UK – grants for children and grants for families

  • Information and database of charities providing grants to disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.

Citizens Advice

CA advise the following if you cannot afford to pay for phone, mobile, internet or TV bills:

  • You should be able to get help from most providers.
  • Contact your provider and ask what they can do to help. For example, they might agree to help you by:
  • reducing your bill
  • giving you more time to pay
  • increasing your data or download limit
  • moving you to a contract that suits your needs better

If your provider won’t help you, you might be able to switch to a different provider. If you owe money to your old provider when you switch, you’ll still have to pay them.

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