Where possible, outpatient appointments will now take place over the phone.
A telephone appointment is the same as a face-to-face appointment but conducted over the phone instead of at the hospital or community clinic.
This leaflet explains what this means for you.
If you have been given a phone appointment, please do not come to the hospital as you will not be seen.
Why am I having a phone appointment?
As part of our work to improve outpatient services we are increasing the number of clinic appointments delivered by phone. This is to improve patients’ experience by reducing the need to take time off work, travel to and park in the hospital.
Your health professional has reviewed your condition and decided that it is safe for your hospital appointment to take place over the phone.
What will happen?
- Your hospital appointment letter gives you the appointment time.
- The health professional delivering the appointment will call you as close as possible to your appointment time. The number might appear as ‘no caller ID’ or a number you do not recognise.
- The health professional may call early if preceding appointment moves quickly, or later than your appointment time if preceding appointments over-run (just as might happen in a face-to-face clinic), so please prepare for this.
How should I prepare?
Please make sure that:
You are available to speak to the health professional and that your phone is loud enough to hear when it rings.
You have a list of your current medication and any documentation relevant to your condition or appointment.
You have pen and paper ready to write down any notes.
You are somewhere quiet where you can talk privately.
You are in a location that has a good mobile phone signal if we are calling your mobile phone.
If a family member, friend, or carer usually comes with you to your hospital appointments, please ask them to be with you for your phone appointment. If you have a speaker phone facility on your phone, please use this.
Which phone number will I be called on?
The hospital department may call you to confirm your phone clinic appointment and the phone number you prefer to be called on.
If you are unsure which number the health professional will call you on, please call the hospital department. Their number is on your hospital appointment letter.
It’s very important that you do not call or text the number that the health professional has called you on during your phone appointment. The number you are called from is for phone clinic appointments. You will not be able to contact your health professional on this number. Please call your hospital department if you have any questions.
What happens if I can’t hear the health professional clearly?
Please tell the health professional straight away.
If there is a different number which they can call you on, please tell them.
The health professional may offer to call you at a different time.
What happens if I miss my appointment?
- The healthcare professional will attempt to call you up to three times and then, if possible, leave a message saying that they have phoned you.
- They will then decide on the next step, which could include re booking your appointment or discharging you back to your GP. Please contact the team if you have any concerns about this.
What happens if the healthcare professional doesn’t phone?
If the healthcare professional doesn’t phone within an hour of your appointment time, you may check with the hospital department concerned using the number on your appointment letter.
What happens if I need an interpreter?
- We can arrange for an interpreter to be on the phone call with your health professional.
- Please ask a family member or friend to phone the hospital department at least 3 days before your appointment and tell us which language is needed, if you have not already done this.
What should I do if I think that a phone clinic appointment is not appropriate for me?
If you have difficulty communicating by phone, because, for example, you are deaf or hard of hearing, or have a learning difficulty, please ask a friend or relative to phone your hospital department for you. They will discuss alternative options with you.
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Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.