Outpatient appointments during the COVID-19 outbreak: A handy guide for patients

Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) has followed government guidance on social distancing, utilising telephone and video calls instead of some face-to-face outpatient appointments.

By speaking to a medical professional over the telephone or via video call, patients are able to receive medical advice without the need to leave their own home. However, professionals at WSFT are asking that despite not being a traditional face-to-face appointment, patients should still take the time to prepare for the appointments in a correct manner.

Dr Thomas Pulimood, consultant at WSFT said: “As a global digital exemplar, our Trust is utilising telephone and video calls to ensure patients are still able to speak to medical professionals in these very different times. Despite not being face to face, we’d like to remind patients that this is exactly the same as any other appointment with your hospital consultant, clinical nurse specialist or other member of their team.

“To help patients who are preparing for a telephone or video appointment, the Trust has put together some helpful tips to ensure your appointment is quick, efficient and useful to both the patient and the medical professional.”

A few tips that the Trust have prepared for patients ahead of their appointments include:

·         Ensuring they’re in a quiet space in the house where they’re unlikely to be disturbed

·         Being in a place where they can’t be overheard to protect confidentiality

·         Having a list of recent medication, any changes to medication and dosages, as well as any over-the-counter remedies they are taking nearby

·         Wearing their reading glasses or having their hearing aid in if they need them

·         Ensuring their landline or mobile connection is working well.

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