We understand that you might be worried about coronavirus – also known as COVID-19. This information sheet from the Outpatient Department explains what to expect when you come to an appointment. Please read this alongside our general FAQs for families at gosh.nhs.uk/covid-19-FAQ. You can also find the latest news, information and resources in our COVID-19 information hub at gosh.nhs.uk/coronavirus-hub.
When you visit GOSH, you may find our outpatient areas look a bit different. We’ve introduced extra safety measures to keep children, young people, families and staff at GOSH as safe as possible. We’re still providing the high standard of care we always do.
If your child or any member of the household has symptoms of coronavirus, please do not come to GOSH. Contact the online NHS 111 service at nhs.uk for urgent medical advice. Please call us to let us know, so we can offer you a telephone or video consultation or reschedule your outpatient visit for a later date.
If you are worried about your child or feel their life is at risk, you should call 999 or go to your local A&E or urgent care centre as you normally would.
Before your appointment
If your household has been asked to self-isolate for 7 days before your child’s appointment, please make sure you follow these instructions carefully. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your clinical team.
We will call you before the day of your child’s appointment to check that they and no one in your household is showing any symptoms of infection or coronavirus (COVID-19). If anyone is showing symptoms and it’s safe to delay your child’s appointment, we will rearrange it.
If your child is shielding, please call to let us know before their appointment, or make sure to mention it when we call you. This will help us to arrange clinics in a way that keeps everyone as safe as possible.
Please bring snacks and drinks with you to the appointment – many local cafes and coffee shops are closed.
We have removed toys and games from the department to help to reduce the infection risk, so please remember to bring something to keep your child occupied while waiting. We do our best to run clinics to time and appreciate your understanding with any delays while we work hard to get clinics up and running safely and smoothly.
Only one parent/carer can bring their child to the appointment and, unfortunately, no brothers and sisters can attend at the moment. If you have other children, please arrange for another adult to look after them – if this is going to be difficult, please tell us as soon as possible.
Please see our website at www.gosh.nhs.uk/your-hospital-visit/travelling-gosh for details about travelling to GOSH, congestion and other charges as well as information about parking.
Before your visit, we recommend you watch our family-friendly animation at gosh.nhs.uk/staysafe to hear about the four key things you can do to stop the virus spreading when you come to GOSH. This includes wearing a mask while you’re in the hospital, in line with national guidance.
When you arrive at clinic
Please arrive no earlier than ten minutes before your appointment – if you come too early, we may ask you to wait outside the hospital so our waiting areas don’t get too crowded. Clinic staff will keep a careful eye on the waiting area and may ask you to wait outside if it’s becoming difficult to keep everyone safely spaced. We will check we have your current mobile phone number and call you back in time for the appointment. If you are late, we may not be able to see your child and may need to reschedule your appointment.
We will ask you and your child to use gel sanitiser when you check in and that you both wear a mask or face covering while you’re at GOSH. If your child isn’t able to wear one, for example if they’re very young, that’s fine. If you don’t have a face covering, we’ll provide you with face masks to wear while you are in the hospital. We will explain how to put it on and wear it. Please make sure the mask covers your nose, mouth and chin, and try not to touch it while it’s on. Take it off using the loops and clean your hands after you throw it away.
Our waiting areas
You’ll notice we’ve re-arranged our waiting areas so you can keep 2 metres apart from everyone else. This means we have reduced the number of seats, which is why we are asking you to arrive no more than ten minutes before your appointment.
Look out for the starfish on the floor so you can see where to stand when you check in at reception and when you are speaking to other members of staff.
Your child’s clinic appointment
We will weigh and measure your child before their appointment as usual, as well as carrying out other checks or asking for a urine sample.
Our doctors and nurses may be wearing extra protective clothing for the appointment, such as a face mask and apron. If the doctor or nurse is taking a swab or doing a procedure that may produce secretions, they will wear a visor as well as a mask, gloves and apron. This is in line with the latest national guidance and helps us to keep everyone safe.
If you need to see several specialists as part of your visit, we may ask you to stay in one room while the specialists come to you. This will reduce the need for you to travel around different areas of the hospital.
If your child needs additional tests or scans, we will try to organise these for the same day to save you another journey to GOSH. However, there may be some occasions where this is not possible – we will tell you if this is the case.
After each child’s appointment, we will clean the clinic room to reduce the risk of germs spreading.
After your appointment
Please don’t take the face masks we provide home. They are for use at the hospital only and should be disposed of before leaving GOSH. Take it off using the loops, dispose of it in an orange clinical bin, and wash or sanitise your hands. Watch how Otto the Octopus does it at gosh.nhs.uk/staysafe.
If you’re taking public transport home, make sure you and your child (if they are able to) are wearing face coverings, in line with national guidance.
If you’re told that your child requires a follow-up appointment or test, please don’t return to the reception desk. A member of our team will call you to agree a date and time.
We really appreciate your feedback. If you would like to tell us about your experience in the department, please use our online form at www.gosh.nhs.uk/your-opinion-matters.
Contacting the Outpatient Department
If you have any questions, please call the Outpatient Appointment Centre on 020 7829 8880. Further information about Outpatients at GOSH is available at www.gosh.nhs.uk/your-hospital-visit/coming-hospital/outpatients
Further information and support
Information from the NHS at nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
Information for children is available on the BBC Newsround website at bbc.co.uk/newsround
Information from our specialty departments
You can find guidance for specific patient groups here. These were put together by our specialist clinical teams and are being reviewed and added to regularly.