Your outpatient appointment
Change or cancel your appointment
The RD&E prides itself on providing safe, dignified and patient centred care. Our outpatient services are delivered across our sites, including Wonford, Heavitree and in our Community Hospitals. See our ‘Sites and getting here’ pages for more information.
Appointments may take the form of a face-to-face, telephone or video, consultation. This reduces the need for patients to attend hospital and enables people to have consultations in a place convenient to you.
Once your outpatient appointment is booked with us you should receive a letter; confirming the date, type-of-appointment, time and location (if applicable), and a contact telephone number should you have a query.
Please find below information to help you prepare for your appointment and make the most of your time with our clinical team.
You can also download our 'Easy Read Outpatient Booklet', by clicking on the name.
Additional patient guidance - COVID 19
Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to ensure that our hospital environments are safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This includes closely following all recommended infection control precautions and additional measures to ensure patient and staff safety and wellbeing.
Before attending your outpatient appointment please read the following important guidance and note the additional requirements at this time:
- Additional Patient Guidance re: COVID 19 for all patients attending an Outpatient Appointment (click here to download)
- A leaflet on wearing a face covering during COVID-19 (click here to download)
Face coverings intend to protect against inadvertent transmission of the virus to others if you have it without having symptoms. Please ensure you attend your appointment with a face covering in place and follow the guidance provided.
Please contact us by phone if...
Please contact us via the details on the top of your appointment letter as soon as possible before your appointment if:
- You or a member of your household has tested positive for coronavirus
- You or a member of your household has received a letter from the NHS instructing you that you need shielding from coronavirus.
Please do not attend until you have had a conversation with one of the clinical team!
Everyone must observe social distancing whenever possible in the hospital and assist us by
adhering to the additional patient guidance above.
Changing or cancelling an appointment
If you are unable to make the appointment we have made for you, please let us know as soon as possible. This allows us to provide you with a new appointment date quickly and to offer the cancelled slot to another patient, keeping our waiting times down and our services running smoothly.
Please call the number on your appointment letter to change or cancel you appointment.
This will get you through to the most appropriate department.
Alternatively, please contact our General Switch Board or Outpatient Offices. Click here to visit our 'Get in touch' page for contact details.
PLEASE NOTE: If you cancel your appointment on more than one occasion, this may result in you being returned to the care of your GP or referrer to ensure the safe management of your condition.
Our appointment reminder system
To help you keep your appointment and reduce the impact of non-attendance, we operate a telephone reminder service for some services. Therefore, you may receive a telephone reminder a week before your outpatient appointment.
Anyone under 70 years old will receive an automated call. Those over 70 years will receive a call from an operator.
For security purposes you will be asked to confirm your date of birth. You will then be reminded of the date, time, type-of-appointment, location (if applicable), and specialty name of your appointment.
The telephone reminder service does not have access to any of your medical information.
Some areas are not suitable for this service (i.e. oncology) and will not receive a reminder.
We understand this service may not be suitable for everyone. If you do not wish to receive a free telephone reminder please let us know. All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.
Telephone: 01392 406992
If you have special requirements
At the RD&E we aim to provide a service that is user friendly and easily accessible to all.
Please tell the department you are visiting if you have any particular requirements, before you attend your appointment.
For example, if you require additional support due to a disability or need an interpreter. We will do our best to help.
Visit our 'Accessibility, Support & Learning Disability' pages for more information.
Visit our 'NHS Supported Patient Transport' page if you need assistance getting to your appointment, to see if you are eligible for this service.
Telephone clinic information
- Please be ready for your call: you will have received a letter with the time that your call will take place.
- Consider how you will take the call: you may wish to take the call in private, or on loud speaker.
- Support needed to take the call: please advise us in advance if there are problems that would make a telephone call difficult.
- If you are unable to take the call: a new appointment will be agreed with you after the clinic.
- If there is too much to discuss in the time: please prioritise the issues you wish to discuss. Another call back will be agreed.
- Make a note of what is discussed: this will help you to recall any recommendations.
- Documentation: a record of the telephone consultation will be added to personal records and you will be provided with a copy, unless you have requested otherwise
- Concluding the clinic call: a summary of recommendations will be made. This is an opportunity to check everyone has clearly understood.
- Next appointment: you will receive confirmation of the date and time agreed, and whether a telephone or face-to-face appointment is required.
Patient video consultations
Video consultations enable you to have your appointment via a completely secure video environment from the comfort of your own home.
You can connect using a PC, Mac or an iOS/ android device via a web browser.
Your clinician or a member of the booking team will advise you that your appointment will be held as a video consultation.
Click here for more information on our 'Attend Anywhere' video consultation service, including how to join.
Hospital appointments information
Please see our 'Sites and getting here' pages to find directions to the place of your appointment (as detailed in your letter).
Outpatient Departments are clearly signposted. Please ask a member of staff, who will gladly assist if needed.
Please bring along
- Appointment letter (if you have one)
- List of any tablets or medicines you are taking (including complementary medicines)
- Glasses, walking frame, stick, crutches or hearing aid if needed
- Enough money for prescription charges, telephone calls, refreshments and car parking etc.
- Your diary dates or special arrangements (such as holidays) which might affect any future appointments or treatment
- A book to read in case you have to wait (or a quiet toy for a child)
- Any questions you want to ask the doctor/nurse/therapist
Please do not bring any items of value as we cannot guarantee they will be safe.
All RD&E NHS Trust sites are smoke free zones. The NHS Smoking Advice Service is able to help patients and their relatives to give up smoking.
If you want to know where smoking is allowed please ask a member of staff. For advice on how to stop smoking call the NHS smoking advice service on 0845 111 1142.
We take hand hygiene very seriously, and suitable hand hygiene facilities are available to staff whenever they are in the patient environment.
Patients and visitors are of course encouraged to practice good hand hygiene too. Alcohol-based hand rub is widely available in wards and treatment areas. This means it is available at the exact place where care or treatment involving physical contact between a patient and a health-care worker takes place.
For more information about our rigorous infection control please click here to visit our Infection Control pages.
Please book in with the clinic receptionist or self-check in kiosk. You will then be directed to the appropriate waiting area.
Please remember to tell us if you have changed your name, address or your General Practitioner (GP). We need to update our records so that we can contact you or your GP if necessary.
Patients are seen in order of appointment time, rather than in order of arrival to the clinic. We will do our best to run the clinics smoothly and to see you on time, but please accept our sincerest apologies if there is a wait.
Please tell a member of staff if you have been waiting for more than 30 minutes and also if a delay causes you problems.
Other facilities & hospitality
Our hospitals have a range of facilities for your comfort, which vary from location to location.
These may include cafes, shops, cash machines, garden areas, pay phones etc.
To find out more about what is available where you are attending, please click here to visit ‘Our Sites’ pages.
During your appointment
This is your chance to ask questions about your condition. It may help to think of questions before you come to the clinic and write them down.
Outpatient visits may involve some simple investigations and tests. We will discuss these with you.
How long might it take?
Please allow 1-3 hours for your appointment. If you need to go for further tests you may need to allow up to a whole morning or afternoon. You may also need to come back for a follow up appointment if necessary.
If you think you may not be able to remember what is said to you, please ask for the information to be written down.
During your appointment
- Offer you a clear explanation of your condition.
- Arrange language translation if needed - please tell us in advance.
- Describe the potential benefits and risks of treatment and discuss alternatives.
- Ask for your fully informed consent to any operation, procedure or treatment.
- Treat you with respect and dignity.
- Welcome your comments and deal with your concerns.
- Tell you if your appointment will take a long time - due to tests, for example.
We ask that you:
- Tell us about your condition or symptoms and about any allergies that you have.
- Tell us about / bring any medication you take, including complementary medicines.
- Treat our staff with respect.
- Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor or nurse as soon as possible.
- Arrange your transport home (if visiting a hospital site).
A teaching hospital
The RD&E is a teaching hospital, which means we train healthcare professionals. Students improve their clinical skills by working under the supervision of experienced staff and by having direct contact with patients.
We might ask you to agree to be seen by a medical student or other trainee. You can say no and this will not affect the care you receive in anyway. If you have any concerns or questions, please speak with your doctor or nurse.
Improving care for the future
We might ask you to consider taking part in a clinical trial or research study. These are important for developing treatments for the future. You can say no and this will not affect the care you receive. Please speak to your nurse if you have any questions or concerns about this.
Children and Young People's Outpatient Services
Please visit our dedicated Children and young people (paediatric) pages, for more information about our outpatient services.
Your feedback matters
We want to ensure that you have the best experience possible in our care and welcome your feedback. This enables us to celebrate success, resolve queries or concerns as soon as possible and continually improve our services.
If you have any questions about your care please talk to your nurse or consultant as soon as possible.
We want to be able to deal with your worries as quickly and thoroughly as we can.
You will also be asked to feedback using a 'Patient Feedback Card’ when you visit our services.
For further information about how to feedback please visit our 'Your Feedback Matters' page (click here).
Our 'Patient Advice and Liaison Service - PALS' (click here) are available to provide advice and hands-on support for any queries, concerns or complaints you may have.
Our dedicated team
During your visit you may meet different members of our dedicated team. We work closely together to provide you with the best care and experience possible, including:
- Receptionist or Welcome Volunteer: they can assist you with checking-in, where to wait and your comfort whilst waiting.
- Nurse: the clinic nurse is responsible for running the clinic. You might also see a specialist nurse who works with the consultant.
- Consultant: this is the doctor in charge of your care. You will see them, or a doctor or nurse who is part of their team.
- Other Staff: you may also see physiotherapists, porters, occupational therapists, dieticians, pharmacists, radiographers and medical photographers, amongst others.
- Housekeeping: together with our nursing team our housekeeping staff make sure the department is clean. This is regularly audited by the Outpatient Matron. If you have any worries about cleanliness please tell a member of staff.
- Medical students: The RD&E is a teaching hospital so you may also meet one of our many trainee doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, amongst others.
All our staff are identifiable by their Trust ID Badge. If you can't see their badge, then please ask them to show it to you.
Please visit our 'Get in touch' pages (click here) for details on how to contact our 'Outpatient Offices' and services.