What to expect at an outpatients appointment

We understand that you might be worried about coronavirus – also known as COVID-19. We are starting to schedule routine appointments again now but we’ve introduced some measures to keep everyone safe. 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.

When you arrive at clinic

Please arrive no earlier than 10 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 10 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.

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.

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 at reception.

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. Our Pharmacy team are posting out medications to your home so you may not need to go to the Pharmacy in the main hospital.

How long you will be at GOSH for this appointment will depend on who your child is seeing and whether they need any tests or scans. Once you have seen who you need to see, you will be able to go home.

Sometimes, your child might come back to GOSH for an inpatient admission (including an overnight stay) or a day case admission (just for the day). Otherwise, the doctor will arrange to see your child again – when this is scheduled depends on their individual needs and circumstances – this and following appointments are usually called ‘follow up’ appointments and may not be for the same length of time as the first appointment.

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.

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. Sometimes your child’s care can be continued at your local hospital, so the doctor will ‘discharge’ them from GOSH.

Tell us about your outpatient experience

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. You can fill in our online form or complete a feedback card.

Contacting the Outpatient Department

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