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COVID-19 Changes to Outpatient Appointments information

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 or are a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

In response to COVID-19, we need to make some changes to the way we manage outpatient appointments. We may need to postpone appointments until a later date or your appointment may need to be delivered via telehealth (video conferencing) or telephone. If we need to make changes to your appointment, we will contact you via telephone or SMS. If you don’t hear from us, please attend your appointment as planned.

COVID-19 and your outpatient appointment

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

We request you do not bring extra people to your appointment. 

Telehealth (video) or phone 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. 

Gold Coast Health’s response to COVID-19 is changing rapidly, you may be notified of changes to your appointment as late as 1 day prior to your appointment. We appreciate your understanding as we navigate this challenging time.

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.

Face-to-Face appointments

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.
  • Our outpatients staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to support your attendance at clinic. The level of PPE required may vary depending on the treatment you are receiving.
  • 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.

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.

My appointment was cancelled. Will I get another appointment?

Yes, you will be offered another appointment when the risk of COVID-19 to patients and staff has reduced. If your initial or New appointment had to be cancelled then you will remain on the outpatient appointment list and will not lose your position on the outpatient waiting list. While responding to COVID-19, clinical teams are triaging patients to ensure the most urgent patients are seen first.

If you are having any health issues related to this cancelled appointment please see your General Practitioner (GP).

My appointment was cancelled but my condition is worsening. What do I do?

Contact your General Practitioner (GP) to discuss your care and for advice on how to manage your condition. If required, your GP may request the hospital to book an appointment for you. 

If your condition is too serious to wait or is an emergency, call 000 and ask for an ambulance, or attend your closest hospital emergency department.

I received a message reminding me of my upcoming face-to-face appointment, but I am sick, in self-isolation or quarantine, or awaiting a COVID-19 test result. What should I do?

To ensure the health and wellbeing of all patients and staff, if you are currently:

  • in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 (including waiting for a test result),
  • sick or have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild,
  • are unable to attend your appointment for other reasons, you must let the hospital know as soon as possible so they can notify your treating team and they will decide if your appointment can still go ahead as planned.

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 or are a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

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:

  • delivering your appointment via telehealth (video conferencing) or telephone if clinically appropriate,
  • screening people who come into the hospital,
  • limiting the number of staff and patients in our clinics and waiting areas.
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,
  • our outpatients staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to support your attendance at clinic. The level of PPE required may vary depending on the treatment you are receiving,
  • 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 are within 14 days of:

  • a diagnosed case of COVID-19
  • a confirmed close contact of COVID-19
  • a returned international traveller
My appointment has been changed to a telehealth (video) appointment. What is telehealth?

Telehealth (video conferencing) is a safe and effective away of delivering care in your home without physical contact. Find out more about the telehealth service.

Please attend for your telehealth appointment in a private space, in your home or office where you can give your treating team your full attention.  It is difficult for us to provide you with the best care if you try to multi-task your appointment while driving, shopping or doing other tasks.

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 06 Jun 2022