Our Trust offers a range of outpatient services.

To help with any queries or questions that you may have about the service or your outpatient appointment, we have prepared the following frequently asked questions – just click on the link to be taken directly to its answer:

When will I know when my appointment is?

Once you have been referred to the hospital we will arrange an appointment for you and you will receive notification of this through the post. We usually send out the details of your appointment within 8 weeks of receiving your referral and are working hard to send them sooner where possible.

Where will my appointment be?

You will be sent an appointment letter giving you all the details of the day, time, and clinic location and any special instructions that are necessary for you to prepare for your appointment.

How will I remember when my appointment is?

To help patients remember their appointment details we have introduced an appointment reminder system. Patients will receive a text message reminder depending on what contact details they have registered with the hospital. These are sent out up to ?? days prior to your appointment. Please make sure that we have your mobile phone number so we can text you reminders.

How do I change or cancel my appointment?

We understand that the date or time of your appointment may not be the most convenient for you. However, we would ask you to be as flexible as possible. It will help us to ensure you are seen as quickly as possible and by the correct doctor.

Do I need to confirm my appointment?

You do not need to telephone us to confirm your acceptance of your appointment. In most cases, you will receive a reminder call or text just prior to your appointment and this will ask you to confirm whether you will be attending.

How do I know where to go for my appointment?

When you arrive for your appointment you should go to the clinic on your appointment letter. To help you find your way around the hospital we have maps available, click here.

If at any time you are unsure of where to go, please ask a member of staff or the volunteer team who you will see wearing light blue shirts, to help answer any queries.

How do I get to the hospital?

For information on car parking, public transport and directions, please click here.

There are a range of public transport options available to help you get to one of our hospitals which you can access via the Stagecoach website.

What should I bring with me to the consultation?

Please bring your appointment letter with you as this will help the receptionist check your details. It will also tell you where to go to help you find the correct outpatient clinic. We will need your personal details including your current address and telephone number along with your GP’s details, so please have these to hand.  Your letter might ask you to arrive slightly before your appointment. This is to allow any pre-clinic work to be done, e.g. a nurse might need to measure your weight or you might need to attend for a scan. This will be explained in your letter as well as whether you need to bring any samples with you. If you are entitled to free prescriptions or help with travel, remember to bring along confirmation of this with you. You may also be asked about any medicines that you are currently taking. Please bring a sample of your current medicines (in their original container if possible) to the appointment including medicines that you have bought yourself and any alternative medicines.

What if I have specific requirements for my appointment?

If you have any specific requirements that need additional support at your appointment from a family member or carer or if you have specific needs related to language or hearing, please contact the telephone number on your appointment letter and we will be happy to assist you.

Can I bring someone with me?

Yes. Visiting hospital can be an anxious time and it can help to have a trusted friend, relative or carer with you for help and support during the appointment.

How long will I be at the hospital for?

This will vary, depending on which department you may visit. It may be  up to 2 hours for your appointment, should you need tests or assessment for surgery. If your appointment is in The Eye Centre this can be 4-6 hours.

If you require any investigations before your appointment, you will be directed to the appropriate department.

We aim to see you at your appointment time or within 20 minutes of that time. Occasionally there are unavoidable delays, though the clinic staff will keep you informed. If the clinic is delayed and you are unable to wait, please report to the receptionist, who will be happy to advise you about making a further appointment.

Do I need to stop taking my medication prior to my appointment?

You should NOT stop taking any prescribed medication unless advised to do so in your appointment letter or by your GP. If you have any queries about this, please contact your consultant’s secretary via the Trust’s Switchboard on 01246 277271.

Do I need to stop taking my medication prior to my appointment?

You should NOT stop taking any prescribed medication unless advised to do so in your appointment letter or by your GP. If you have any queries about this, please contact your consultant’s secretary via the Trust’s Switchboard on 01246 277271.

Are there toilets near the outpatient clinic?

All of our outpatient clinics have toilets, with wheelchair access and baby changing facilities, nearby. If you need to use these facilities, please let your receptionist know in case you are called for your appointment during this time.

Can you buy food and drink in the outpatient clinic?

There are various refreshment facilities available.

What will happen during the consultation?

After you arrive and have seen the receptionist to check in you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area. The clinic nurse will let you know when the doctor is ready to see you. The nurse may also carry out some provisional tests, such as testing your urine or measuring your blood pressure. 

Doctors, nurses, therapists and clerical staff all work within the outpatient areas and can be identified by their identity/security badges.

Your doctor or nurse will then call you into the consultation room. You should be ready to explain your current problems as well as your clinical history. Your GP should have sent your records to the hospital but on occasion this is not the case.

You should inform the doctor if you are pregnant, have any allergies or are taking any medications and we advise that you bring a sample of your current medicines with you, including medicines you have brought yourself and any alternative medicines.

Your consultation will be individual to you but, as a minimum, the following things should be explained to you during your consultation:

  • what might be wrong
  • whether you need any tests
  • what treatment(s) is best for you
  • what happens next and who to contact.

What should I ask the doctor or nurse? Is it OK to bring a list of questions with me, and write down the answers?

We advise patients that it can be helpful to make a list of all the things you want to ask on the day as some patients find it hard to remember at the time of the consultation. This helps you to get the most from your appointment.

NHS Choices have produced a useful guide called Questions to ask the doctor, which can be accessed by clicking here.

You are very welcome to bring a list of questions and make notes during your consultation to help you remember what has been discussed or bring someone along with you. Often there is a lot of information to digest and this allows you to refer back to them after you have left.

What will happen after my appointment?

If you need further tests or investigations the clinical staff will explain this to you and what you need to do and whether a further follow-up appointment is required.

You will be given a clinic outcome form which you should take to the outpatient reception desk before leaving the department as this forms records what had been done and what needs to happen next.

If you need a follow-up appointment, it is usually possible for this to be made at the outpatient reception desk and an appointment letter will be printed for you. However there may be occasions when this is not possible. Please be assured that you will be added to the waiting list and contacted in writing at a later date if this is the case.

Can I receive copies of my letters?

You are entitled to a copy of the letter which is sent to your GP after your appointment. We will be happy to send you a copy if you wish, please ask your Consultant who will ensure a copy is sent to you.

Who can I talk to if I have questions about a letter I receive?

Each letter will be written by a member of your consultant's team. If you wish to discuss the contents of a letter please contact the consultant's secretary via the Trust switchboard on 01246 277271.

I need to make some amendments to my/my relatives personal details - how do I do it?

It is important that we know if your contact details have changed. You should inform your GP immediately of any changes to you/your family’s personal information, including address and telephone number amendments. We use the same contact information as your GP so any amendments made at your GP Practice can be accessed here at the Trust.

You will be asked to check your personal details at each hospital appointment and so any changes can also be made at this time.

Can I bring my children with me to my appointment?

Clinics can be extremely busy and the waiting areas in some clinics are small with limited seating. Given that it is possible that you may also experience a longer wait than expected, or may require tests, it is advisable not to bring children to your appointment if at all possible.

How can I give feedback on my experience of the outpatient service?

We always welcome feedback on our services and patient care. If you would like to contact us regarding your feedback please click here

Is my personal information confidential?

Yes, we do not share your information with anyone other than those who are directly involved your care. The Data Protection Act 1998 also gives you the right to see any information we hold about you. If you would like to apply to see your details, or would like more information about your rights under the Act, please click here

What if I need an operation, treatment or investigations?

If you require any of these the doctor will discuss this with you during your appointment and explain what is going to happen. You may need to sign a consent form which the doctor will discuss with you. Before signing, please ask any questions you may have if you are not sure or do not understand anything.

Can I use my mobile phone in the clinic?

In general, we would prefer you not to use your phone while in the outpatient areas as it can be annoying for other patients waiting. If you need to use your mobile phone on while in the clinic please put it on 'silent' or 'vibrate'.