Visiting our clinics
Your GP will sometimes refer you to us as an outpatient for further consultation, tests or scans, and specialist treatments.
Your appointment letter will include all the important details, like date, time, and which hospital and clinic you’ll be seen in – so keep it in a safe place.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the NHS. As a result, some patients are waiting longer than we would like for an appointment or procedure.
We're working as quickly and safely as possible to see as many patients as we can and prioritising patients by clinical need.
If you're waiting for an appointment or procedure, please be reassured that we have not forgotten about you, and we will be in touch as soon as we can.
We're working together with hospitals in nearby NHS trusts and private providers to see people on our waiting lists. You may therefore be offered an appointment at a different hospital to the one you were originally referred to.
We're also continuing to offer telephone and video appointments, although if you need to be seen in person, you will be.
Giving you the choice to be seen elsewhere
As part of the national drive to reduce elective waiting lists, we are now proactively contacting patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks*, and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, to consider their options to see if they could be seen sooner at a different hospital. (*some clinical exclusions apply).
If you are eligible, you will be contacted directly by text or letter. Please do not proactively contact GP or NHS hospital about this. Read more in our news story.
Change in symptoms
If your symptoms change or get worse whilst you are waiting for your appointment or procedure, you should contact your GP or NHS 111 for advice.
How to prepare
There are many steps you can take to better prepare for your procedure:
- Stop smoking to improve your body’s ability to heal and to improve your lung function. Guidance on the support available to help you stop smoking can be found on the NICE website .
- Exercise more and eat a healthy diet to help your body manage the demands of surgery and aid recovery. For tips on helping you to start healthier eating habits, be more active and start losing weight, download the free NHS Weight Loss Plan .
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Ensure you are drinking within (or preferably below) the recommended limits. This will improve your ability to heal after surgery.
- Take care of your mental health by preparing yourself for your procedure and recovery, to help reduce anxiety and stress.
Futher information is available from the Royal College of Anaesthetists and our information sheet: Making the most of your time waiting for surgery[docx] 468KB
Questions about your care?
If you have any questions about your care, please contact your clinical team using the number or email address on your appointment letter.
Our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) is also available.
If there are any changes to your care, we aim to let you know as soon as possible. If you do not hear from us, please attend any appointments as normal.
Take care of your mental health by preparing yourself for your procedure and recovery. Talking therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling and guided self-help are available on the NHS. These are free and you can refer yourself.
No longer need your procedure or appointment?
If you no longer require your appointment or procedure, either because you have received treatment elsewhere or because your situation has improved, please let your clinical team know as soon as possible. You cancel or change your appointment online or by replying to the text you receive seven days before your appointment if you can no longer make it.
More information about your appointment
Referral to Treatment (RTT) – your rights
If you’re referred to us by your GP or healthcare professional, we’ll aim to start your treatment within 18 weeks of the referral being made.
The 18 weeks starts the moment we receive your referral, to the time your treatment starts, including any test you need.
Sometimes, you’ll start your treatment after 18 weeks because:
- we need to monitor you and your condition
- you choose to wait longer than 18 weeks.
More information about RTT
Before your appointment
We will offer you a choice on where and how we deliver your care whenever possible. Before clinic we will supply an outpatients leaflet on your first appointment giving you clear information about your appointment and what to expect.
Your clinic appointment will not be cancelled at less than 6 weeks’ notice except in exceptional circumstances. In the event of a cancellation we will rebook your appointment within 3 weeks for a new appointment and within 6 weeks for a follow up appointment
During your appointment
We will be professional in our delivery of your care and ask that you are courteous and respectful towards our staff.
We aim to see you in the most appropriate clinic according to your medical needs. Our staff will be present throughout your visit to assist with your care; we will welcome you to a clean and friendly environment and will listen and plan your care with you.
We aim to see you within your scheduled time and will keep you informed of any clinic changes. You can request a copy of your clinic letter
After your appointment
A clinic letter will be sent to those involved in your care. To improve patient experience any form of feedback will be appreciated