Patients will notice changes when they attend outpatient appointments following the Covid-19 pandemic.
National guidelines mean patients and visitors coming to hospital will be expected to wear a face covering, which could be a scarf or homemade mask, or they will be offered a face mask to wear when they enter the clinic or ward. Hospital staff will be wearing surgical face masks to protect patients.
As inpatients, women in labour are managed under different guidance. Women in hospital setting as outpatients to antenatal or postnatal appointments will need to wear a face covering under the guidance. Children and babies under three years should not wear a covering, as per recently updated Department of Health and Social Care guidance.
Patients are encouraged to keep a physical distance from other people as you move through the building, wash your hands regularly, and use the alcohol gel dispensers on entering and leaving the hospital.
Most outpatient consultations will continue to be conducted over the telephone or by video call. For urgent and emergency outpatient visits, patients will be met by a member of staff as they enter the clinic area and asked a few simple health questions, have their temperature taken and directed to a seating area which is socially distanced from other people in the clinic.
Wherever possible, patients are being asked to attend their outpatient appointment alone and no more than 15 minutes before the time of their appointment. There are exceptions for patients with dementia, learning disabilities and other conditions where a carer needs to attend. The same procedures will apply to anyone accompanying a patient to hospital.