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Coming in as an outpatient

Outpatients Frontage building

Outpatients come in to the hospital, have their treatment or operation, and then go home the same day.

The hospital will send you an appointment letter telling you when to come to the hospital and where to go. If you can't make the appointment it's really important that you ring the hospital to tell them.

It can be quite a long day so it’s best to be prepared with something to entertain yourself with. Get to the hospital in good time for your appointment and let the staff know you are there.

The doctors may need to examine you, so wearing lots of layers, such as a T-shirt and tracksuit can help. And don't worry too much about how your hair looks, or all your hard work could be undone!

Hospitals work hard to make sure you don't have to wait too long. But appointments can be delayed so it's a good idea to bring a book, game or magazine in with you.

You might not be able to eat anything for a few hours before an operation – it’s best to check with your medical team. You’ll also need to take off any make-up and jewellery. Bring in any medication you take regularly.

After your treatment, you can choose something to eat. If you have special dietary needs – like gluten or lactose free – you might need to take in your own food. Check to see if the hospital can cater for you.

When you're feeling better after your treatment, and have had something to eat and drink, you'll be able to go home.

You might find that you need to come back into hospital several times while the doctors find out what is wrong or they are making you better.

Once you've been in once or twice you'll probably feel like an old hand and you'll soon get used to all the people.

Need advice in hospital?

Our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) provides free, independent and confidential advice and support to help patients, families and carers.