Arrangements for outpatients during the COVID 19 pandemic

The Outpatients Department is seeing increased attendances. In order to keep patients and staff safe it is important to comply with social distancing and for this reason it is important that patients attend where possible, on their own.  Where it is necessary to be accompanied by a carer this is of course acceptable, otherwise friends and family will be asked to drop patients and return to collect them later.
To allow for social distancing please do not come to clinic until 5 minutes before you’re appointment time unless informed otherwise.
It is important that everyone is wearing a face covering when attending the hospital, unless by doing so would be a risk to them.
We hope to return to normal as soon as possible.

Face to Face Consultations

In response to the challenges of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic we have had to change many of the ways in which we provide our services. Many of our outpatient clinics are now being provided from our satellite units away from the main hospital site and so your appointment may be at a different location to where you have previously attended.
We require all patients to wear a face covering when attending an appointment for their own protection. We are unable to supply face coverings and ask that you bring your own. If the wearing of a face covering is likely to cause you particular difficulties relating to your medical condition please discuss with the clinical team before attending. (More information about face coverings) Our staff will be wearing surgical masks for your protection.
You will find when coming onto site that we have put measures in place to ensure you are able to socially distance from other patients.
To help reduce the risk of cross infection and for the health and safety of yourself, our staff and other patients we are trying to reduce the need for people to attend hospital or our other sites and so follow up appointments made with you may be for a telephone or video consultation – our clinic staff will discuss this with you.
If you receive an appointment for a face-to-face consultation, please can we remind you to consider the following instructions:
  • If you live alone and show symptoms of a new continuous cough and / or a high temperature and / or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste, then you should telephone the team with whom you have an appointment (on your appointment letter). We will postpone your appointment until you have self-isolated for 10 days.
  • If a person in your household has a persistent cough or fever, again contact us by telephone as everyone in the household needs to self-isolate at home and not leave the house for 14 days. We will postpone your appointment until after the 14 day isolation period has been completed. More information about self isolation 
  • Please try to attend your appointment alone – although one carer is permitted for children or patients needing support.

Telephone and Video Consultations

As an alternative to a face to face appointment we are allocating some patients a telephone consultation so that they do not need to come into hospital. Our clinical team will be able to discuss treatment plans with our patients over the telephone and answer any questions that they may have about their care.
We know that this may be a very different experience for our patients and hope that you will understand our reasons for doing this.

Please Remember!

Whilst waiting to attend your appointment, should your condition improve or worsen, please inform your GP.
If you are unable to keep your appointment, you can change your appointment by contacting the Appointment Centre on 01536 493300. Alternatively, you can e-mail us at Please inform us of your reference number and the reason you are unable to attend when contacting us. If you cancel two consecutive appointments, you are likely to be transferred back to the care of your GP or referrer in line with our Patient Access Policy.
If you do not attend and have not informed us, where the clinician has deemed it safe to do so, our policy is to transfer you back to the care of your GP or referrer in line with our Patient Access Policy.
Should you change address or telephone number, please let us know by contacting the Appointment Centre. This information is not automatically updated by your GP.
Hospital appointments and treatment are free to people who are living in the UK lawfully and permanently. All NHS Trusts have a duty by law to establish, without discrimination, if all patients are entitled to free NHS care. Patients not entitled to free NHS care will have to pay.
To help us decide if you are entitled to free NHS care, we ask that you bring proof of identity and a proof of address with you to your new outpatient appointment to present on request. If the patient is aged 16 years or under, the parent or legal guardian must bring documents to show that they are lawfully resident in the UK.