Outpatients

The majority of our patients come to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) as an outpatient. 
  • An outpatient, in most cases, will be referred to the hospital by their family doctor (GP) or local Consultant. Doctors and other health care professionals typically see patients in a clinic room, similar to the ones at your local surgery. 
  • The length of time you will stay in Outpatients will depend on who you are seeing and whether any tests or procedures are needed that day. 
  • Once your child has been seen by everyone they need to see, they can go home.  
  • Some specialties may arrange for a further visit to a ward for treatment. This is known as an 'admission' if staying overnight, or a 'day case' if the patient goes home the same day.
  • Your first appointment with the doctor is called a new appointment and any further appointments are called a follow up appointment.

This following information may help you prepare for your child’s outpatient appointment and explain what you can expect to happen during your visit.

When you receive your appointment letter

We will telephone you to organise a preferred date and time for your child to come to their GOSH outpatient appointment. The appointment will be confirmed via letter. If your child is new to GOSH, this will include some forms for you to complete.

If the date and time of the appointment becomes inconvenient, please telephone the Outpatient Appointment Centre on 020 7829 8880. The Outpatient Appointment Centre is open between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Around 15,000 appointments are wasted each year due to patients not attending their appointments. If you do have to cancel, we will arrange another appointment as soon as possible. If you do not attend the appointment, your child may be discharged and may need another referral.

If your child has a learning disability and/or needs extra support for this appointment, please contact the Learning Disabilities team on 020 7813 8465 or email the Learning Disabilities team to let them know. 

The day before your child’s appointment

It is dangerous for some of our patients to come into contact with people who could have certain infectious diseases. If you or your child have been in contact with a person with measles, mumps, chicken pox or a tummy bug in the three weeks before the appointment, please telephone us and do not bring them to GOSH. We will arrange for another appointment as soon as possible.

If your child has Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), please ring the department to warn us, as your child will need to be seen in a special isolation room. When you arrive at the hospital, please inform the reception team to make the nursing team aware of this. Please do not go to the clinic area and wait in the isolation room allocated.

Location of our outpatient clinics

Outpatient clinics run in several locations around GOSH – here’s a little more information about each clinic area.

In Main GOSH building

In our consulting rooms next door at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM)

In the Zayed Centre for Research (20 Guilford street, London, WC1N 1DZ) 

Your appointment letter should give details of the clinic area where the appointment will be held. If you are not sure where to go, please show your appointment letter to a member of staff and ask for directions.

When you arrive at GOSH

If your child’s appointment letter states that the appointment is in Manta Ray or Rhino, please follow the signage to the right after you enter the main building. If you need help with directions, please report to the main reception desk at the main entrance of GOSH.

If the letter states that your child’s appointment is in Zebra, Hare or Hippo, please go next door to our consulting rooms at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM). Zebra, Hare and Hippo can be accessed via stairs or via lift.

If the appointment is in Falcon, please see the map in the above page. This building can be found by using the postcode WC1N 1DZ. It is about a 3-5 minute walk from the main GOSH site. 

The consultation

Your appointment letter will usually give the name of the consultant caring for your child. Our consultants work in teams with other doctors, called registrars or specialist registrars. We cannot guarantee that you will always see the consultant but we can assure you that the consultant is kept fully informed of the results of appointments and tests.

Multidisciplinary teams of specialists, such as nurses, dietitians, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, and psychologists, run some clinics. You may see a number of different people during your child’s appointment and they should always introduce themselves to you.

Although your clinic appointment is for a set length of time, some appointments overrun, particularly if the doctor has to give a family a difficult diagnosis or explain a complicated treatment. This can have a ‘knock on’ effect on following appointments. The clinic staff will always try to keep you informed about any delays and we apologise in advance if you do have a delay.

Privacy and your child’s wishes

When the clinic nurse calls you and your child to see the doctor, there may be more than one person in the room. As GOSH is a teaching hospital, some of these people may be doctors, nurses and other professionals in training. Your doctor should introduce them to you and explain why they are there.

If you or your child would prefer not to have other people there during the consultation, it would be helpful if you could let us know before the appointment. Asking to be seen alone will not affect your child’s care in any way.

Question time

The doctor will usually start by asking you and your child lots of questions about his or her illness or condition. This information helps the doctor make a diagnosis and plan any treatment. If the doctor wants to examine your child, they will ask your child to lie on a bed that has curtains around it. You will, of course, be able to stay during any examinations. You can also ask for a chaperone of the same sex as your child – please ask us about this when you check in.

When the doctor has finished, you will have the chance to ask him or her any questions. If there is something the doctor explains which you do not understand, please ask him or her to explain it again.

Booking your next appointment

At the end of the consultation, the doctor will tell you if he or she needs to see your child again and, if so, approximately when. Sometimes your child’s care can be continued at your local hospital, so the doctor will ‘discharge’ them from GOSH.

After the appointment, you should go back to the receptionist to book your child’s next appointment. The receptionist will use the information added to the computer system by the doctor to arrange a suitable date and time with you before you leave the hospital. We will confirm the appointment date/time with a text message or letter.

If you have any questions about making an appointment, please call the Outpatient Appointment Centre on 020 7829 8880.

Prescriptions for medicines

If the doctor gives you a prescription for medicines, you will need to get them from the hospital pharmacy at GOSH. Please leave your prescription at the Pharmacy before you go for any tests or other appointments. Please tell us if your child has any allergies to food, medicines, preservatives or colourings. Also, if your child prefers to take medicine in a certain format, for instance as liquid or tablets, please discuss this with us when you hand in the prescription.

If you want to know what happens to the prescription and how we dispense medicines, please watch the short film playing in the dispensary waiting area.

The pharmacy receptionist will give you a number for the prescription. You can then keep an eye on how it is progressing through the dispensary on the screen in the main reception area. We can also send you a short text message to let you know when you can collect the medicines if you prefer – let us know when you hand in the prescription.

Your feedback

Your feedback is really important to us. We would like to know how your experience was – from having your appointment booked, through to your consultation. Please complete the Family and Friends Test form available in our reception or waiting areas. This will help us continue to improve our services.

Outpatients contact numbers

If you have any general queries about your appointment, please contact the Outpatient Appointment Centre on 020 7829 8880.

The following members of staff are available to help you during your visit:

  • Outpatients’ Sisters: ext. 38020, ext. 38022 or ext. 1754
  • Anne Nicholls (Assistant Service Manager): ext. 1598
  • Chantelle Clavier (Matron): ext. 1768
  • Elena Gelsthorpe-Hill (Service Manager): ext. 8423 or 07718 130653.