Outpatient appointments

We are carefully reviewing all patients who are due to have an outpatient appointment to see what is the best way for your appointment to go ahead or if it would be more appropriate to postpone the appointment until a later date. We have developed video and telephone consultation options which will enable your care to go ahead without having to come to hospital.

If you have an upcoming appointment we will contact you to let you know if it will be going ahead or if we can conduct your appointment by phone or video conference.

If you are asked to come in because it is the only way we can deliver your care we will take appropriate precautions to ensure your risk of being exposed to infection is limited. Also please come alone if at all possible. This includes pregnant women attending for antenatal scans.

We will not ask you to attend in person for an appointment if you:

  • are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID 19 - new persistent cough or fever/high temperature
  • have been in close contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID 19
  • are currently self-isolating or are in an identified vulnerable group for COVID-19
  • have cold or flu like symptoms generally

Please call to let us know if this is the case and we will look at an alternative.

If English is not your first language and you are having a video or telephone call, you will still be able to access a translator. For video calls, your translator will join your appointment by dialling into a speakerphone that your clinician will have with them. If you are having a telephone call, an interpreter will join your call. This will be set up for you by the hospital.

Please ensure that you are in a private place when you take your video or telephone call. If this is not possible, then please let the hospital know when they call to ask if you would like a video or telephone call and you will be offered a hospital appointment on site, where possible.

How you can help us limit the spread of COVID-19

  • Before entering and whilst in the hospital environment please take every opportunity to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.
  • Unless you need assistance please come to your appointment alone if at all possible.

 

What to do if you have a video consultation

We are now able to offer some patients an outpatient appointment using video through your computer, phone or tablet. This means you can see and speak to the doctor or nurse without having to come into the hospital. We are using a system called Attend Anywhere and the information below will help you to know how to use it. you will be contacted by telephone to check that you are able to receive a video appointment will happen via video conference.

What is Attend Anywhere®?

Attend Anywhere® is a website used to help clinicians hold video clinics with their patients. This would happen instead of a face-to-face appointment, saving your travel time and cost and reducing the inconvenience of having to come to the hospital.

You will need to have access to a smartphone or computer with a webcam, and have a good internet connection.

Who can use the service?

If your appointment can be held by video, a member of the hospital team will have discussed this with you. This is generally the case where:

  • Due to self –isolation, shielding or social distancing needs, it is not advisable that you come onto the hospital site for routine out-patient appointments
  • a physical examination or test is not needed
  • a patient is travelling a long distance to attend their appointment
  • a patient is undergoing regular  care that is disruptive to everyday life
  • it might be useful to see the patient’s home environment or their at-home medical devices
  • a patient is unable to attend hospital due to a physical or mental health condition.

In most cases not related to Covid-19, it is still your choice to come to the hospital for a face-to-face appointment if you want to.

How does the service work?

You will be sent an appointment letter and leaflet. A few days before your appointment, you will also receive an email. This will contain a link to your video waiting room on Attend Anywhere®.

The simplest way to connect to your video call when it is time for your appointment, is to go to the link sent in the email.

You can also copy and paste the URL code provided in the appointment letter sent with this leaflet, into a Google Chrome web browser.

After you click the Start video call button, you will be asked to enter your name, date of birth, and a contact phone number. You will not be asked for any other information.

Click Here for Troubleshooting guide to using Attend Anywhere.

Frequently asked questions

What do I need to make a video call?

  • A good connection to the internet. If you can watch a video online (for example YouTube), you can make a video call.
  • A private, well-lit area where you will not be disturbed during the consultation.
  • One of these:
    • Google Chrome web browser on a desktop or laptop, or an Android tablet or
    • smartphone
    • Safari web browser on an Apple iMac, MacBook, iPad or iPhone.
  • Web-camera, speakers, and microphone already built in to laptops or mobile devices

Is it secure?

Video calls are secure. Your privacy is protected. You have your own private video room that only you and authorised clinicians can enter.

How much does a video call cost?

The video call is free (except for your internet usage).

How much internet data will I use?

You don’t use any data while waiting for a clinician to join you. A video call uses a similar amount of data to Skype® or FaceTime®

How to get started

  1. Click on the link in your email message or copy the URL code sent in your appointment letter into a Google Chrome web browser.
  2. Click on the Start video call button and follow the instructions.
  3. You wait in your own private video room. Your healthcare provider can see you arrive in the waiting area queue. None of the other patients will be able to see you or any of your details.
  4. Your healthcare provider will join you in your video room when they are ready.
  5. You can see the clinician and they can see you. You will not have to type your responses to any questions.
  6. At the end of the appointment, the clinician will disconnect the call and the web page will close. If you would like to leave the call before this point, click End in the top right-hand corner.

What happens if my connection drops out?

You should try to make sure there is a good quality connection (through Wi-Fi, 4G or wired connection) before starting the call, although this cannot always guarantee a perfect connection.

If you lose connection during your video appointment, the clinician will try to reconnect. If this cannot be done via video, they will attempt to call the telephone number we have on your record. Please make sure the contact details we have for you are kept up to date.

Where can I go to for help in using Attend Anywhere?

If you have any problems with connecting to your video appointment there is a Setup guide and a Troubleshooting guide at the bottom of the page your link takes you to. If these do not help with your problem, please contact the telephone number on your appointment letter or email sth.video@nhs.net

How is my data used?

No part of the Attend Anywhere® online video consultation will be physically recorded or permanently digitally stored. The medical outcomes of the consultation will be recorded and stored as a permanent part of your patient records held by the hospital. This happens in the same way as for face-to-face or telephone consultations. Some personal information is stored on the computer being used, and you need to be aware of this - particularly if you will be using a public or shared computer. If you are receiving a video call on a mobile phone this is only as secure as any other phone call on that mobile network.

Important points

  • Keep your browser (Google Chrome or Apple Safari) up to date by allowing updates to install. This generally happens when you close the programme or update through the Apple App Store, or Android stores, such as Google Play and Amazon.
  • Video consultations are securely encrypted, however, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have adequate anti-spyware and anti-virus protection on your hardware.
  • If you are receiving a video call via a mobile phone, this may be only as secure as any other phone call on that mobile network.
  • Attend Anywhere should not be used as an emergency contact.

What to do if you have a telephone consultation

Many of our patients now have the option of holding their out-patient clinic appointment by telephone.

Who can use the service?

If your appointment can be held by telephone, a member of the hospital team will have discussed this with you or you will have been sent a letter. This is generally the case where:

  • Due to self –isolation, shielding or social distancing needs, it is not advisable that you come onto the hospital site for routine out-patient appointments
  • a physical examination or test is not needed
  • a patient is travelling a long distance to attend their appointment
  • a patient is undergoing regular  care that is disruptive to everyday life
  • a patient is unable to attend hospital due to a physical or mental health condition.

In most cases not related to Covid-19, it is still your choice to come to the hospital for a face-to-face appointment if you want to.

How does the service work?

You will be sent an appointment letter clearly stating that your appointment will take place over the telephone.

As close as possible to the time of your appointment, your clinician will call you on the number we have recorded for you. Please make sure the contact details we have for you are kept up to date. Please ensure you are available to take your call and that you can be in a quiet, private place.

You will be asked to state your name and date of birth when your clinician telephones you to ensure they are talking to you.