Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Outpatients

We see thousands of outpatients (patients who don’t stay overnight in hospital), either in one of our main outpatient departments, or in other specialist departments. Our teams aim to provide specialist consultation in a welcoming and professional environment, alongside the highest achievable standards of individualised care.

Your outpatient appointment

You should have received a letter telling you;

  • the time and date of your appointment,
  • which hospital your appointment is at, and which reception you should go to when you arrive,
  • anything you need to do beforehand,
  • what you need to bring with you.

If you’re not sure about your appointment, what you need to do before/bring with you, or where you need to go, please call us on the number in your appointment letter to check any details. We are here to help.

We can’t treat an empty chairMissed appointments cost the Royal Cornwall Hospitals £4 million each year and increase waiting times for all patients. Please tell us if you can’t make your appointment.

If you can't make your appointment

If you can’t make the appointment, please let us know as soon as possible by calling either the number in your letter, or the relevant number below, so we can offer it to someone else who is waiting.

We’ll do our best to arrange an alternative time that is more suitable. Please remember we can only change your appointment twice before we have to discharge you back to the care of your GP.

Outpatient Appointment Booking Numbers

Cardiology 01872 252018
Dermatology
Diabetic Medicine
Endocrine
Gynaecology
Neurology
Paediatrics
Rheumatology
01736 874130
Gastroenterology
Hepatology
Respiratory and Thoracic Medicine
01872 253300
Ophthalmology 01872 252272
Oral Surgery
Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)
01872 252832
Surgery 01872 253409
Trauma & Orthopaedics 01872 758892

We cannot treat an empty chair

To help you remember your appointment, we have a special outpatient reminder service. You’ll receive an automated call a week before your appointment and a text message reminder two days before your appointment. You can opt out of this service if you’d prefer, please contact the number on your letter to do so.

On the day of your appointment

If you are going to be late for your appointment, as long as it is safe for you to do so, please call the number on your letter to let us know. If you are more than 15 minutes late, either call or see reception when you arrive and we will let you know whether we can see you that day.

If you miss your appointment

If you do not attend your appointment, we will discharge you back to the care of your GP.

Can I bring anyone with me?

There is limited seating in the waiting areas, so please bring only one relative or friend with you to the outpatient waiting area. We can make an exception if you have children.

Chaperones and additional assistance

All patients can request a chaperone to be present during their consultations or procedures. This may be a friend or family as an informal chaperone, or a clinical health professional such as a nurse, as a formal chaperone.

Travelling to and from the hospital

You’ll need to arrange for your own transport to and from the hospital.

If this isn’t possible, or you think you will need some help, please visit the transport and transport costs section on our practical help and advice page for more details on the support we may be able to offer. You can also find details there about travel for patients who live on the Isles of Scilly.

Please click on one of the boxes below for directions, and information on parking and facilities at each of our hospitals.

What to bring with you

  • Your appointment letter so that you know where to go and who to see
  • Any medications you are taking so you can tell us about them
  • Any sample we have requested (such as urine or stool)
  • Money for your prescription, or your exemption certificate
  • A list of any questions you would like to ask

What not to bring

Please don’t bring any valuables with you, such as jewellery or watches, especially if your letter says you will need to remove them at your appointment. We can’t accept responsibility for these items so it’s best to leave them at home.

Preventing infection

We take infection prevention very seriously so if you have a cold, cough, stomach upset or any other infectious condition, we ask you not to come in because of the risk of infecting other people.

How can you help prevent the spread of infection?

There are plenty of things you can do to help us, these include:

  • „Wash or clean your hands before and after visiting the hospital and always after using the toilet.
  • „Use soap and water to wash your hands and make sure you wash and dry them thoroughly. There are handwash sinks at the entrance to all of our wards.
  • There are also hand-gel stations at the entrances to our hospitals.
  • „If you have symptoms such as flu, diarrhoea or vomiting or infections such as chicken pox, please do not come in because you could easily infect someone else.

If anything to do with infection prevention is worrying you, feel free to challenge staff, they won’t mind. You can also always speak to a senior member of staff. Our infection prevention team also provides a 24-hour advice and guidance service.

Find out more about how we work to prevent infection on our quality and safety standards page.

When you arrive

Please arrive at the hospital and head to the reception mentioned in your letter as near to your appointment time as possible. Each of our hospitals has a main outpatient reception, but depending on your appointment, you may need to go to another department, please check your letter carefully.

Tell the reception staff that you have arrived and they’ll register you and show you to the waiting area.

Patients are seen in order of appointment. If you have any questions or are worried about your appointment, just ask the nurse in charge of your clinic who will be happy to help you.

Your patience is appreciated

Outpatient departments are often extremely busy. Although we make every effort to keep clinics running to time, there may be emergencies that cause clinics to run late. The staff will tell you if there is a delay.

Medical and nursing students

At times, there may be medical and nursing students in the department. We will tell you before your consultation if this is the case. It is vital for the training of future doctors and nurses that they are able to see patients and gain valuable experience. They will always be supervised by trained, experienced members of staff, but you can request that they are not present should you so wish.

What happens at my appointment?

Everyone who attends one of our outpatient clinics is under the care of a particular consultant and their team. You may not see the consultant at every visit, but the doctor you see will discuss any major decisions about your treatment with your consultant.

If there is anything you do not understand about your condition or treatment, please ask any member of the clinical or nursing staff.

If you need to have a procedure, the doctor or nurse will explain the benefits and risks to you, and any alternatives, before you consent to treatment. If you need an elective or invasive diagnostic procedure, we will screen you for MRSA. This is to ensure the safety of you, staff and other patients.

How long will my appointment last?

We’ll usually give you an estimated length for the appointment in your letter. Please remember to allow for any waiting time and that after you have seen the doctor you may be asked to go to another department for a test, minor investigation or x-ray. We suggest that you don’t make other arrangements for at least two hours after your appointment time.

Further appointments

After you have been seen by the doctor, we will tell you if you need any further treatment. You’ll be given a slip of paper giving details of the outcome of your appointment. It is extremely important that you take this to the receptionist before you leave the clinic, so that we can make any necessary arrangements.
Directions, parking and other facilities at our hospitals