During the COVID-19 pandemic, we introduced measures to significantly reduce the number of patients attending the hospital for outpatient appointments in order to comply with Government instructions for people to leave their homes only for essential reasons.

We introduced telephone and video outpatient consultations and off-site phlebotomy appointments, but some appointments were cancelled to be rescheduled at a later date.

We are now inviting more patients to come to the hospital for routine outpatient appointments.

What is the hospital doing to make sure I don’t catch COVID-19 when I come for my appointment?

We have made extensive preparations to welcome outpatients safely into our hospital and have good cleaning practices in place. Staff will wear the correct personal protective equipment to keep you safe. More information about the range of things we are doing is available here.

Do I have to come to the hospital for my appointment?

We have looked at ways that we can continue to offer consultations to our patients whilst ensuring that we reduce the number of face to face visits. Where clinically appropriate we have offered patients a video or telephone consultation. If you have been invited for a face to face appointment then the clinician has deemed that it is necessary to see you and may need to examine you.

How do I know it’s safe for me to come to the hospital?

We are doing what we can to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 at the hospital; following the social distancing rules and having good cleaning practices in place. Staff will wear the correct personal protective equipment to keep you safe.

Will I need to wear a mask when I come to the hospital?

We ask everyone entering the hospital to wear a face covering so we can limit the spread of infection from people who display no symptoms. Staff must wear face masks at all times in clinical areas and when moving through hospital buildings.

What sort of mask should I wear?

We encourage everyone to bring a face covering of their own. A scarf or a bandana will do, and there are lots of different ways you can make your own if you need to. If you don’t have a face covering on arrival, disposable masks will be available to use.

I don’t have a mask – will the hospital be providing a mask for me?

Some disposable masks will be available at hospital entrances. Reusable face coverings will be available for a small donation.

Should I use a particular entrance to the hospital?

Your letter will advise you which entrance to enter through. This is so that we can ensure people are evenly distributed across our site.

Will there be signs telling me which way to go when I arrive at the hospital?

Yes follow the signs to the relevant Outpatient department.

Are you limiting the number of people coming into the hospital/department like they are doing in the supermarkets?

We have significantly reduced the number of appointments within the department to allow us to follow social distancing rules and maintain patient safety. You will see spots to wait on in reception areas.

Can I bring my partner/husband/wife/children with me?

No, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID and to protect you, staff and other patients, we ask that you attend your appointment by yourself.

Is it OK if my relative drives me to the hospital and waits in the car or goes for a walk whilst I have my appointment? Is there somewhere they can get a drink whilst they wait?

Relatives are requested to remain in the car or park up and go for a walk. Unfortunately the catering facilities on site are no longer available for the general public at this time to protect members of the public, patients and our staff.

Can a carer accompany a patient to their appointment?

If you are a carer and the patient is unable to attend alone you are able to attend with them.

What is the department doing in terms of keeping things clean?

We are following the guidelines from the infection prevention and control department. Staff wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the examination. We clean equipment after each patient and in some areas will cover equipment in bags designed to keep equipment clean.

Will the chairs that patients use be cleaned after each use?

Chairs in the waiting area are cleaned as required, wheelchairs and chairs in the examination room are cleaned following each patient’s use.

I have another appointment at the hospital on the same day, will I be able to get a drink or some lunch whilst I wait?

If you contact us and tell us when your other appointment is we can try to rearrange your appointment to make them closer together. The WHSmiths shop is open and serves sandwiches and drinks, but we encourage people to not wait for extended periods inside the hospital.

If I arrive early for my appointment, will I be able to get a drink whilst I wait?

We ask that you arrive no more than 5 minutes before your appointment. Although some catering facilities are now open to the public, we encourage you to bring a small bottle of water with you.

If I don’t feel like it would be safe for me to come for this appointment, what happens next?

If you don’t feel comfortable attending the hospital at this time please let us know. We will ensure the Doctor or health professional is advised and they will assess whether you can be deferred or offered an alternative appointment by telephone or video.