Advice for patients attending an outpatient appointment

We know that some patients might worry about coming into hospital during the current COVID-19 pandemic, but we want to reassure you that we are here for you and we have your safety in mind.

We’ve made some changes to our hospitals to reduce the risks to everyone, so if you’ve visited one of our hospitals in the past, you might find things are a little bit different than you remember.

If you should be self-isolating because you have or might have coronavirus, you must not attend your appointment.

If this applies to you, please use the contact details on your appointment letter to let us know that you won't be able to attend. We can rearrange your appointment, or may be able to arrange for the appointment to take place via telephone or video consultation.

Guidance on when to self-isolate is available on the NHS website here.

Please read the following guidance before you visit one of our hospitals:

Mask guidance for visitors and patients attending outpatient appointments

Our staff to wear hospital-grade surgical masks when they are at work, but we have decided to ask all our visitors to wear these masks as well when they enter our sites. This is because these masks provide better protection than many non-hospital types of face coverings, and we are doing all we can to protect everyone from the risk of COVID infection.

When a visitor enters our sites they will be asked to replace their face covering with one of our surgical masks. Alcohol hand gel is available at all entrances so that visitors can clean their hands before and after touching their masks, along with a waste bin for any rubbish.

If visitors are exempt from wearing masks they should be given a sticker to show to any other staff who may ask them to put on a facemask.

All visitors should follow the below guidance:

  • You should wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting your mask on and taking it off
  • When wearing the face mask, you should avoid touching your face at all times
  • You should also follow other infection control safety measures when visiting our hospitals, including social distancing and regular hand washing.

Whilst we ask visitors to wear face masks in our hospitals for the protection of themselves, patients and our staff, we realise that not all people are able to tolerate wearing a mask. The following groups do not need to wear a face mask when visiting our hospitals:

  • Young children under the age of 3
  • Anyone with anatomical difficulties that would make wearing a face mask impossible or painful e.g. facial injuries
  • People with breathing difficulties
  • Anyone who experiences severe discomfort or distress while wearing a face mask e.g. those with severe claustrophobia
  • Anyone unable to remove their mask without assistance.

If you have any concerns or queries please speak to a member of our staff.

Moving around the hospital

  • Please wear a clean mask or face covering to come into the hospital. If you do not have one, we can give you a mask when you arrive.
  • Please clean your hands with the hand sanitiser provided as soon as you enter the hospital.
  • Please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment time, but no earlier as space is very limited. This is to ensure we can maintain social distancing.
  • One-way systems may be in place, so please follow signage to make sure you enter and exit the building in the right way.
  • Please stay at least two metres apart from other people who are not from your household at all times – this includes in car parks, corridors, and waiting areas.
  • Please keep moving and don’t linger in entrance areas and foyers.
  • Please take note of all signage and follow any guidance. For example, lifts will have signs displaying the maximum number of people allowed inside.

Arriving at your appointment

  • Please remain at a two-metre distance from reception staff when arriving for your appointment.
  • Please observe the signs placed on waiting area seats to help us maintain social distancing.
  • We will ask you more questions than normal when you arrive for your appointment to ensure we don’t need to take extra precautions with your care.

Bringing somebody with you

If somebody accompanies you to the hospital, they should wait outside the hospital building, e.g. in their car.

You may only be accompanied to your outpatient appointment itself if:

  • Your appointment letter specifies that you need to be accompanied.
  • You need help due to your physical or mental health.
  • You are aged under 18.

Other advice

  • Please try to avoid touching your face.
  • Please cough or sneeze into a tissue and then bin it safely. If you don’t have a tissue, please cough or sneeze into your arm, rather than your hand.
  • Please use hand sanitiser when entering and leaving any departments you visit

We are doing everything we can to reduce the risks at our hospitals, and by following this guidance we can work together to help protect each other and keep everyone safe.