Whether we visit your own setting, including your home, or you are visiting us for the first time – it’s important to us that you have the right information to make your appointment as stress free as possible.

Preparing for your appointment:

Once you’ve been referred to one of our services, you’ll receive a telephone call or letter via post or email with all the details of your first appointment, including date, time, location and where you need to go when you arrive. It’s important to check you are able to come to your appointment and let us know if you can’t. If you don’t let us know, you may not be offered another appointment.

If you are being visited in your own setting, including a home visit, you will be notified either directly by a clinician via the telephone, and the appointment date and time may then be confirmed via a follow-up letter or email to you. Please ensure you are available and can be contacted on the day of your appointment.


Changing or cancelling your appointment

We understand that at times you may need to change or move your appointment to a more suitable time. Firstly check your appointment letter or email for details of how to change or cancel your appointment. If unsure, contact your local Single Point of Access (SPA) team. Please remember to include the name of the service you are visiting or NHS number (which can be found on your appointment letter), your full name and your date of birth in your email or message.

Depending on the service you are due to attend, this information may be different so please check your original appointment letter for details on changing or cancelling your appointment.

Appointment reminder

Depending on the service you are being seen or treated by, you may or may not receive an appointment reminder.

Coming to see us

We advise giving yourself plenty of time to get to one of our clinical sites and to locate your clinic in advance of your visit.



 

What to bring

You will need to bring the following to your appointment with us:

  • Your appointment letter
  • Any medication that you are currently taking (or a list of it)

You may also need:

Money to pay for prescriptions, or an exemption card if you are entitled to free prescriptions.

Special requirements

Do you need an interpreter?

If you require a foreign language interpreter please let the receptionist know when you arrive for your first clinic appointment and they will organise access to a telephone interpreting line during your consultation.

If you require a sign language interpreter, our services are usually advised by your referrer as to what arrangements we need to be put in place for you to access our services. If no arrangements have been made, please also advise the receptionist or your healthcare professional. They will advise us when they refer you to our services and we will organise an interpreter for you. See more about the Accessible Information Standard (AIS) and what this means for you here.

Disabled access

Many of our buildings have disabled access and disabled accessible toilet facilities. Our Single Point of Access (SPA) teams will generally book patient transport for service users with disabilities and if a wheelchair is required, this will be arranged for you. However, please be advised that wheelchairs are not provided on our sites.

Learning disabled patients

We advise all patients with learning disabilities to bring a carer or friend with them to their appointment.

Accessible information

We can provide information, such as leaflets and advice in a different format e.g. Braille or large text. Visit our accessible information page for more information on this or contact the service directly to request this on your behalf in advance of your appointment.

When not to come to an appointment

If you have had vomiting or diarrhoea in the last three days we would ask you to reschedule your appointment. This is to make sure you are not infectious to other patients.

At your appointment:

Your appointment letter should tell you where to go for your appointment, but if you are unsure ask a member of staff to help.

When you arrive at one of our clinics, please speak to one of our receptionists who will check you in. Alternatively, and if available at the site you are visiting, you can use one of our self-check in kiosks at the entrance to let us know you’ve arrived. A member of staff will be available if you need any help.

Once you have checked in using either one of our self-check in kiosks or at reception, you will be directed to the area you need to wait in and then you will be called forward by a nurse or a doctor for your appointment.

There may be limited seating in the waiting area so please only bring one relative or friend with you. If you have young children, you can bring them with you.

Please be on time for your appointment. If you are early you will not be seen more quickly, but if you are late other patients who arrived on time may be seen before you.

Waiting times

Depending on your appointment and the type of visit you have arranged with us, waiting times can vary. We will make every effort to make sure you are seen on time, but sometimes our services do get very busy and delays are unavoidable. The patient before you may take longer than expected, or the doctor may be away on an emergency. Our staff will keep you regularly informed of any delays.

You may notice that a patient who has arrived after you is seen before you. This patient will likely be seeing a different healthcare professional to you.

Waiting times at our walk-in or urgent care centres vary day-to-day and the time of day. Our centres aim to see and treat all patients within four hours of arrival and patients are seen in order of clinical priority.

Demand for services occasionally exceeds capacity after 4pm weekdays. At these times, all patients will receive an initial assessment and if unable to offer a full consultation will be redirected to other appropriate healthcare providers. For more information, visit our walk-in and urgent care centre pages.

Who will I see?

During your appointment, you may see your consultant or another doctor or nurse working in the same team. All of our staff will be wearing their name badges and will introduce themselves to you.

If you feel particularly strongly about seeing a female or male clinician, please let a member of staff know when you arrive.

Consenting to treatment

We want to make sure that you fully understand your condition and the different treatment options available. Before you receive any treatment, your healthcare professional will explain what he or she is recommending, including the benefits, risks and any alternatives. Please ask questions if you are unsure about anything.

You may be asked to sign a consent form for your treatment. You are able to refuse treatment at any time, including after you have signed a consent form.

Smoking

Smoking or using e-cigarettes is not allowed inside any of our buildings. Designated smoking areas will be signposted accordingly.

Confidentiality

Everyone working for the NHS has a legal duty to maintain patient confidentiality. Information about you and your care is kept strictly confidential.

After your appointment:

At the end of your appointment and depending what service you attended, we will discuss next steps with you. You may need to come in for another appointment or be sent for tests. In some cases, we will be able to establish a treatment plan for you on the day.

We will write to your GP to let them know what happened at your appointment, including your test results and any treatment plan we have put in place for you.

Before you leave

We encourage you to ask questions at your appointment.

You and your healthcare professional will work together to make decisions about your care, so before you leave your appointment, make sure you understand:
 
  • What your diagnosis is/what might be wrong
  • Which treatment is best for you
  • Whether you need any further tests
  • Whether you need to book a follow up appointment at reception
  • What happens next

Prescriptions

If your clinician gives you a prescription you’ll be asked to collect this from the a pharmacy or your GP. Please note, as with all NHS prescriptions, you will have to pay a charge unless you are exempt. If you don’t normally pay for your prescriptions, you will need to bring proof of your exemption with you, such as an income support book. NHS Choices offers more information about paying for prescriptions.
 

Booking your follow up appointment

If the healthcare professional you see asks you to book a follow up appointment, please ask to do this at the reception desk before you leave.