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. Updated national guidance outlines that social distancing and wearing a surgical mask at all times within hospital settings is no longer required. However, it remains important to maintain other infection, prevention and control measures when attending the hospital, including maintaining good hand hygiene – alcohol gel is available at various locations across the hospital.

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 where this is necessary to keep you safe.

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

We have options for patients to receive their outpatient consultation by video and telephone but this is not always clinically appropriate and you will need to be seen face to face. 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; having good cleaning practices in place. Staff will wear the correct personal protective equipment where this is necessary to keep you safe.

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

This is no longer a mandatory requirement, we welcome anyone who prefers to wear a face covering to continue to do so. From time to time we might ask everyone to resume wearing masks if we feel it is necessary to help reduce Covid transmission.

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.

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

Where possible please attend your clinic appointment alone to minimise the number of people in the waiting area, however, we appreciate this is not always feasible, especially if additional support is required.

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.

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 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 are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable please call our outpatient contact centre 01226 434343 and we will make alternative provisions prior to your appointment – this could include you being seen at the beginning or at the end of the clinic