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Your Outpatient Visit

Patient

There are various reasons why patients will be offered an Outpatient Appointment:

  • Sometimes after seeing your GP, he or she may feel you need to be seen by a health professional at the hospital, and will refer you to an appropriate clinic.
  • You may have seen a health professional previously in an outpatient clinic, and he/she has requested to see you again.
  • You may need to be reviewed following an admission to hospital.

Your outpatient appointment will be held in an 'outpatient clinic' and you will be seen by a Health Professional. This could be a doctor, a nurse or specialist GP.

You may be able to choose where you can go for that appointment as well as the appointment date and time.

How will your Outpatient Appointment be Confirmed?

Once you have agreed your 'Outpatient' Appointment, you will receive a letter or appointment card confirming the time and date of your appointment. The letter or card will also tell you where your appointment will be held.

Not all outpatient appointments are dealt with by the Central Appointments Office for example, physiotherapy, x-ray and ECG appointments. Should you have a query it is very important that you use the telephone number stated on your appointment letter or card to ensure that you get through to the correct department.

If you have lost your letter or need to confirm the date or time of your hospital appointment, please contact the Central Appointments Office at either Darlington or Durham.

Please Telephone 01207 594666 For out-patient appointments held at:

  • University Hospital North Durham
  • Shotley Bridge Community Hospital
  • Chester-le-Street Community Hospital

Please Telephone 01325 743333 for out-patient appointments held at:

  • Bishop Auckland General Hospital
  • Darlington Memorial Hospital

For details of the clinic location and a map of the hospital, click on the link to the hospital site you are attending for your appointment.

What Should you Do if you are Unable to Attend your Appointment?

It is really important that you tell us if you are unable to attend your outpatient appointment, please telephone the hospital as soon as possible. This will allow the appointment to be offered to another patient. If required, an alternative appointment will be offered to you.

Failure to attend for an appointment may result in you not being offered an alternative appointment.

What will Happen at your Outpatient Appointment?

Please bring a list of your medication with you to your appointment.

It would be helpful to the clinic if you arrived no earlier than 15 minutes before your appointment time. Patients will be seen in the order of their appointment time, and arriving earlier will not mean you will be seen earlier.

When you arrive please report to the reception desk with your appointment letter or card. The receptionist will confirm your personal details with you, such as name, address, telephone number, next of kin and ethnic origin.

You may be weighed by a member of the nursing staff and a urine sample will be taken if needed. The nurse or receptionist will then direct you to the waiting area.

We aim to see all patients within 30 minutes of their appointment time, however unexpected delays can occur. We appreciate your patience if this should happen. In this instance staff  should keep patients updated.


Your appointment will usually last about 10 minutes, but you may have other tests while you are at the hospital which means you may have to stay longer.

If you are given a prescription during your outpatient appointment, please note that this can only be collected from the hospital dispensary. If you normally pay for your prescriptions, please make sure you bring some money with you.

After your appointment, the health care professional may:

  • Request that you return for another 'Outpatient Appointment'. The receptionist will agree a convenient date and time with you, before you leave.
  • Identify that you require further tests and will give you details of how these will be arranged.
  • Add you to a waiting list to have further treatment or surgery at a later date. Details of how this will be arranged will be explained to you.
  • Return you back to the care of your GP.

Are you Visiting the United Kingdom?

Hospital treatment is free to people who live in the United Kingdom (UK). If you do not normally live here then you may be asked to pay for treatment. You will be asked various questions by the hospital staff to determine if you are eligible for free treatment.

'I cannot commend the clinic enough. It is marvellous we have this service at all and well done to you all.'

Patient, Coronary Heart Disease / Heart Failure Service, Shotley Bridge Community Hospital