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At the hospital (outpatients)

Important information

Please do not attend your outpatient appointment if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or you have symptoms.

To ensure your outpatient consultation takes place in the most appropriate setting, your referral will be looked at by a hospital doctor who will decide the next steps. This could be a virtual consultation via telephone or video, or a face-to-face appointment in clinic.

Unless we have contacted you to cancel or rearrange your consultation, please attend as planned. This is really important, whether you have a virtual consultation or a face-to-face appointment. If you are unable to attend your appointment, please let us know in advance.

You may bring another person with you to your outpatient appointment.

Arriving at clinic and checking in

Please report to the clinic indicated on your appointment letter. If your appointment is in the main Outpatient department, clinics are clearly signposted as you enter the building. If you are unsure, there is an information desk where staff will be able to help you.

Should you require assistance with wheelchairs, please ask at the information desk and somebody will assist you.

Check your appointment letter carefully; not all clinics are held in the main department building.

It's really important that you bring your appointment letter with you.

Self check-in

Most outpatient clinics now use self check-in kiosks.

How to use the self check-in kiosk if you have your appointment letter with you

  • Select the language you would like to use
  • You will be asked whether you have your appointment letter with you
  • If you have your letter, scan the barcode at the top of the letter
  • You will be asked to select the date in the month you were born
  • You will be asked to confirm your personal details
  • You will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area

How to use the self check-in kiosk if you don't have your appointment letter with you

  • Select the language you would like to use
  • You will be asked whether you have your appointment letter with you
  • Select that you don’t have your letter
  • You will be asked whether you are male or female
  • You will be asked to select the month of your birth
  • You will be asked to select the date in the month you were born
  • You will be asked for your postcode
  • You will be asked to confirm your personal details
  • You will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area

Clinic reception desk

If there is no self check-in kiosk, please present your appointment letter or card to the receptionist on duty so they can book you into the clinic. The receptionist will ask you to confirm your personal details. It is very important that we have the correct information concerning your address and postcode, and your GP's address and postcode.

You will be asked to take a seat in the waiting room until the doctor is able to see you.

Ethnic data

To help us make sure we provide the right type of service for all our patients, you will be asked to tell us about your ethnic origin. Please note that giving this information is voluntary.

Keeping information about you confidential

We ask you for information so that you can receive the care and treatment you need. We keep this information, together with details of your care, because it may be needed if we see you again.

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Further information on this subject is available in all outpatient clinic areas.

In the clinic

In some clinics, you may have one or more tests carried out before seeing the doctor (e.g. X-ray or bloods). You may also need to be weighed and have your urine tested.

In clinic, you will be seen by a member of the consultant's team of doctors. You may not see the same doctor each time you have an appointment.

If you are keen to see one particular doctor, please let the nurse know and we will try to help if we can. Please note, this is not always possible.

Waiting times

Please do not arrive more than 10 minutes before your appointment time, unless specified in your appointment letter. We always do our best to keep waiting times as short as possible, and aim to see most of our patients within half an hour of their appointment time. However, sometimes there are unavoidable delays and you may be kept waiting for any of the following reasons:

  • The doctor may need to spend extra time with some patients
  • Emergency cases may have to be seen
  • Doctors may be delayed or called away
  • Some patients arrive late

In order for us to offer the best service we can, please help by informing the hospital as soon as possible if you are not able to attend your appointment. We may be able to give your appointment to someone else.


If the clinic doctor thinks you need tablets or treatment, they will normally write to your GP and ask them to prescribe the treatment for you.

It should be possible for you to obtain the necessary treatment at the next convenient surgery and during working hours.

If the treatment needs to be started quickly, the hospital will normally prescribe it for you, but will usually only give enough for a few days' supply.

When you are given a hospital prescription, you must take it to the Pharmacy department.

Admission to hospital

The doctor might decide that you should be admitted to hospital. They may not be able to give you a definite date for admission but should be able to give you an approximate idea of when it might be.

Your name will be put on the consultant's waiting list and you may be asked if you could come in at short notice, should a bed become available. If your condition changes while you are on the waiting list you should see your GP. They may wish to arrange for you to be seen again at the hospital.

If, for any reason, you no longer need or want your treatment, please inform the hospital so that your name can be removed from the waiting list.

X-rays and pregnant women

You may be asked to have an X-ray. If you are pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, you must tell the doctor or nurse.

Remember, X-rays can harm unborn children.

If your child needs an X-ray and you are pregnant, please bring somebody else to go with your child into the X-ray room.

Staff training

As one of the country's leading teaching hospitals, doctors, nurses and other staff are trained here. As part of their training they sometimes meet and examine patients.

If you are asked to be involved in any training activity and would prefer not to, please tell the receptionist or nurse. This will in no way affect your treatment.

Recording your appointment

We understand that some patients may wish to record the audio and/or video of their appointment on their mobile phone, or other recording device, to help them remember what is said during the appointment, or as a form of note taking.

Please speak to your treating clinician if you would like to record your appointment, at the start of your appointment, and discuss this with them.

Any recordings made must be for a patient’s private use only.

As an NHS organisation, we must prevent inappropriate recording in areas where other people might object to being recorded, where it interferes with the delivery of patient care, or impacts on the confidentiality of others e.g. in waiting rooms and other public areas.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Last reviewed: 16 April 2024