Outpatient appointments

Regrettably COVID-19 is still circulating in our local communities and so we are continuing to take every precaution to limit the risk of transmission to our patients and staff. If you are due to have an outpatient appointment, we will carefully consider what is the best way for your appointment to go ahead. We may suggest a video or telephone consultation option 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 what we think would be the most appropriate way to conduct your appointment. 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 unless you need assistance.

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

  • are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID 19 - a new continuous cough, temperature above 37.8, loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell or flu-like symptoms such as fever and any of the following: cough, sore throat, limb/joint pain, headache
  • have someone in your household who is COVID-19 positive or has symptoms
  • have been in close contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID 19 or suspected of having COVID-19 in the last 10 days.
  • you have been told to self-isolate by the NHS track and trace team.
  • 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 for your appointment.

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

  • You must do a lateral flow test on the day of your appointment  and have a negative result before you come.
  • Before entering and whilst in the hospital environment please take every opportunity to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser.
  • You must wear a mask when inside our buildings – free masks are available if you do not have one. Please ask a member of staff.
  • Do not come into the building until 15 minutes before your appointment
  • Come to your appointment alone. If you need someone to attend with you please only bring one person. They will need to wait outside until called in by staff to join you at the time of your appointment.
  • Your companion can listen into the consultation from the car via mobile phone. Ask for details if you would like this to happen.
  • Keep your distance from others.
  • Should you have any concerns about your out-patient visit please speak with a member of the team upon arrival and we will be happy to help.

You can download the Guide to your outpatient appointment leaflet here Update to the new leaflet attached please

Support if you need a translator

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.

 

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.