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Outpatient Information

This information is for people attending for an outpatient appointment. We hope your visit will be a positive experience.

Our Trust is committed to providing high quality healthcare to all our patients. We will make every effort to ensure you receive the very best treatment, care and attention.

If you have any queries or concerns about any aspect of your appointment, or if you are disabled and will require some assistance, please do not hesitate to phone the contact number on your appointment letter.

Before you come to hospital

Personal details

If you have changed address, or your GP, please tell us either by phoning the number on your appointment letter or by telling the receptionist on your arrival. Please ensure your registration form, attached to your appointment letter, is fully completed and contains all your up-to-date details.

Your appointment

Please follow the instructions on your appointment letter carefully, including checking which hospital and department to attend, completing the registration form and arriving in good time. We do our best to keep to appointment times but if there are delays you will be updated regularly on how long you may have to wait.

Your GP is usually the person who will refer you to a clinician at the hospital. Sometimes a hospital clinician will refer you to another clinician or arrange for you to come in to hospital for minor treatment or tests. If your condition seems to be getting worse prior to your appointment, please contact your GP.

Cancelling your appointment

if you cannot keep the appointment, for whatever reason, please visit this page as soon as possible so we can offer it to someone else.

Coming in to hospital

Access for disabled people

Most pedestrian entrances are accessible by wheelchair users. It can be confusing when you first arrive on the hospital ward. If you need assistance please tell us how we can help you. For further advice contact PALS.

Where is the clinic?

Your appointment letter will tell you which hospital to go to and where exactly to head for. Check the Getting Here & Maps page and look for the site plan of Wards and Departments.

When you arrive, follow the signs or ask a staff member if you require help in locating the correct department.

Tell us if you need special assistance

If you have a disability or other special requirements and need assistance, contact PALS.

Tell us if you need an interpreter

We can provide an interpreter for people who don't speak English. For further advice contact PALS.

What to bring with you:Top of Page

Your appointment letter will give details of anything else you might need to bring.

When you arrive

When you arrive at the department please go to the reception desk where our receptionist will take your details, your appointment card or letter and ask you to sit in the waiting area or direct you to the relevant clinic.

If you need any assistance at the clinic, for instance help with undressing, please ask any of the staff or phone the number on your appointment letter in advance.

Please note that as far as possible patients are seen in the order of appointment time and not on a first come, first served, basis. It is important that if you leave the waiting area you inform the staff so that you do not miss your appointment.

Hospital prescriptions

At Colchester General Hospital prescriptions for medicines will normally be processed within the hour at the hospital pharmacy, so you may choose to go to any other departments you need to while you wait. If medication is unavailable you may need to return another day. You should go to your GP for repeat prescriptions. Normal prescription charges apply. Please bring proof of entitlement if you are exempt from paying for your prescriptions. At Essex County Hospital there is no pharmacy so it may be necessary to take your prescription to another chemist local to you.

Student training centre

Our hospitals are training centres for the next generation of doctors, nurses, midwives and other healthcare staff. An essential part of staff training is working with patients. To help them learn the skills they need cadet nurses, student nurses, or student midwives will carry out some aspects of your care under the supervision of a qualified nurse or midwife. Medical students accompany the consultant on his or her ward rounds and may wish to examine you or talk to you about your medical condition. The students appreciate your co-operation but you are under no obligation. If you do not wish to have the students present please tell a member of the staff.

We have zero-tolerance of violence and aggression

The Trust is committed to providing a safe and secure working environment, free of violence and aggression. It whole-heartedly supports the Government's zero-tolerance campaign and will not accept any act of violence or aggression towards any member of its staff. Incidents of verbal or physical abuse, threats or assaults will be dealt with by calling the security officer, or police if necessary and the Trust will instigate prosecution proceedings if appropriate.

Leaving hospital

Before you leaveTop of Page

If you need to make a further appointment please remember to return to the reception desk before leaving the department. If you require a second opinion about your treatment you should make an appointment with your GP to discuss this.

Please return any equipment, such as crutches or walking frames

Any equipment loaned to you to support your rehabilitation such as crutches or walking frames must be returned to any of our hospitals following your recovery.

And finally

Remember, our Trust is committed to providing high quality healthcare to all our patients. If you have any further questions, please contact PALS.