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COVID-19 and your outpatient appointment

In our response to COVID-19, you might experience some changes when attending your outpatient appointment.

Social distancing in outpatient areas

One way to meet social distancing needs is to reduce the number of people in outpatient waiting rooms.

If you are attending a face-to-face outpatient appointment:

  • Please do not bring additional people. Only the patient, a parent (for children’s outpatients) or a carer/support person (if necessary) should attend.
  • Please maintain a distance of 1.5m from others.
  • Please do not arrive more than 30 minutes earlier than your scheduled appointment time. You will not be seen earlier just because you are in the waiting room. If you have arrived early to attend to other hospital business, please practice social distancing and wait in the hospital’s common areas, gardens or return to your car and come to the outpatients department closer to your appointment time. 
  • If your clinic is running late, and the waiting room is at capacity, our staff may ask you to wait elsewhere, and will call you when there is capacity in the waiting room.  Please be kind to our staff if you are delayed or inconvenienced.
  • During your appointment, you can ask your clinician if you are eligible for your next appointment to be a virtual outpatient consultation via telephone or video conferencing. If it is clinically appropriate, you won't have to come into the hospital for your appointment.  Virtual outpatient consultations are conducted during normal outpatient clinic times.

Telehealth appointments

Some outpatient appointments can be held by telephone or video conferencing, instead of coming into the hospital or health facility. Your doctor will confirm if this is possible. If you don’t hear from us with advice that your appointment is changing to phone or video, please attend your outpatient appointment as usual.

Frequently asked questions

We've prepared a list of frequently asked questions about changes you might expect with your outpatient appointment due to our response to COVID-19.

I am due to attend an outpatient appointment, but I am sick or in self-isolation.  What should I do?

If you are feeling sick, with COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come to the outpatient clinic. Instead, please get tested at a COVID-19 Testing Centre.

If you are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, do not attend your appointment in person. Let your outpatient clinic know and they will arrange another appointment for your in-person or by telehealth, if appropriate.

Do not attend outpatients if you have a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, loss of smell and/or taste or if you have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Is it safe to come to the hospital?

The safety of patients and staff is our priority. We are taking measures to protect you by:

  • offering more appointments via phone or video (if clinically appropriate),
  • screening people who come into the hospital,
  • limiting the number of staff and patients in our clinics and waiting areas,
  • restricting visitors to our hospitals and practising social distancing.No long
What can I expect when I come to the hospital for my outpatient appointment?

We are taking precautions to ensure your safety in our care. These include:

  • screening every patient and visitor who comes into the hospital
  • ensuring there is a minimum of 1.5 metres between yourself and others, where reasonable (for example, it’s not practical during some treatments, but talk to your clinician if you are concerned).
  • increasing our cleaning in all outpatient areas, toilets and shared spaces,
  • making hand sanitising facilities available throughout the hospital
  • asking anyone who is unwell to contact us in advance so we can make other arrangements to see them
  • reducing visitors and non-essential people at our facilities.
Can I bring a support person with me to my appointment?

If you require support, you can bring one person with you. However, your support person cannot attend if they:

  • have been diagnosed with active case of COVID-19
  • have been asked to self-quarantine
  • have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • have returned from a hotspot in the past 14 days
  • are unwell with COVID-19 symptoms
My appointment has been changed to a telehealth appointment. What is telehealth?

Telehealth is a safe and effective way of delivering care in your home without physical contact. Find out more about the telehealth service.

Will I be called/seen by my usual doctor/clinician via telehealth?

Your telehealth appointment will be conducted with an appropriate clinician in your treating team. Depending on your personal healthcare needs, this might be a doctor, nurse or an allied health professional such as a dietitian or psychologist.

Why was I not offered a phone or video appointment?

Phone and video appointments are safe and effective ways of providing care when physical contact is not required. If you have not heard from us about a telehealth appointment, it is likely your treating team needs to see you in person. While you are seeing them, ask them if it is appropriate for future appointments to be undertaken via phone or video.

Last updated 04 Dec 2020