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Preparing for an appointment

outpatient appointment

Please do not attend your appointment if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if your family is self-isolating. Please call our booking team on 0114 305 3691 to discuss rearranging your appointment.

If you can’t attend your outpatient appointment please let us know as soon as possible by calling 0114 305 3691. Your appointment can then be rearranged and your original date can be given to someone else.

Frequently asked questions about coming to Outpatients during COVID-19

How will you be keeping my child safe from COVID-19?

Nothing is more important to us than the safety of your child and we have made extensive changes to the way we work to keep everyone who comes to us as safe as possible.

This includes additional cleaning, social distancing and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We are also limiting the number of visitors, and any staff who are unwell remain home until they have been confirmed not to have COVID-19.

A very small number of patients with COVID-19 infection have been treated at Sheffield Children’s. They are cared for in a separate ward area within the hospital and any procedures are carried out in a dedicated theatre.

Why can only one carer attend?

To minimise the risk of infection, and to support social distancing, unfortunately we need to limit the number of people on the hospital site. Only one parent or carer can attend with each child.

We are able to make exceptions if a second carer is needed to support the child because of their additional needs. We will do our best to accommodate in these circumstances, but please call us in advance so we can discuss and make arrangements.

Can I bring my other children?

No, siblings should not be brought along to appointments. To minimise the risk of infection, and to support social distancing, unfortunately we need to limit the number of people on the hospital site.

We understand there may be occasions for some people where they truly have no alternative, but most people are expected to make other childcare arrangements.

Should I wear a mask and gloves?

We ask that any patient and accompanying adult wear a face covering when entering any site of Sheffield Children’s.

There are some exceptions:

  • Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 3.
  • Exceptions can be made for those visitors or patients with respiratory conditions, sensory needs and people who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.

If you wear gloves to travel to the hospital, please take them off on arrival and wash your hands.

Can I arrive early?

At present, we are asking that families 15 minutes before their appointments. We understand some people have long journeys and may want to arrive early, but ask that you do everything you can to avoid coming into the building earlier than you need to.

This is to help us keep the number of visitors as low as possible at any one time. To facilitate this, some of our normal waiting areas are closed.

Will I be seen in the same place?

There may be changes to your appointment. For example, we might ask you to attend a different location to normal. Even if you are seen in the same location, it is likely to look a bit different. Your appointment may be in a different room and we may ask you to sit in a different place.

We’ll have lots of signs to help you understand what to do and where to go.

Will I be asked questions when I arrive?

Yes, it is likely that you will be stopped on arrival and asked the purpose of your visit. This is to minimise the number of visitors to the building.

Anyone who doesn’t need to be inside the building for an appointment (in other words anyone other than the patient and one parent/carer) will be asked to wait outside. Siblings will only be allowed to attend in exceptional circumstances.

Please understand that our colleagues are only asking these questions to protect the children and families coming to visit to us.

Why can’t I just have a video or phone appointment?

Many of our appointments are carried out by video or phone, and we aim to do that wherever possible. However there are still times where a face-to-face appointment is more suitable – for example so the clinician can carry out an examination of the child, to allow weighing and measuring, or for us to take blood samples.

Will I be seen by the same people?

While staff might look different in their PPE, it’s the same friendly team offering the same great care.

What PPE will staff be wearing?

The PPE our staff wear varies depending on the work they are doing. You can see more about the types of PPE we wear here.

We have COVID-19 symptoms. What should we do?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, make sure you follow the NHS COVID-19 guidance. If you already have an appointment booked with us, please do not attend the hospital site. Please call us and let us know on 0114 305 3691 and we will arrange an appointment for another time.

Before your appointment

Most outpatient appointments take place in the Outpatients Department at the main hospital site on Western Bank.

Some appointments are held in other locations inside the hospital or at our other sites. View directions and travel information for each of our clinic settings.

If you need an interpreter please call the number on your appointment letter at least two days before your appointment and we will arrange this for you.

If you have any questions about your child’s condition or treatment, bring them along with you to discuss with your doctor or nurse during your appointment.

You child may need to be examined during their visit so we recommend that they wear clothes that are easy to remove.

On the day of the appointment

Please allow plenty of time for travel and remember that parking is limited around the main hospital site. Find out more about parking, public transport and site locations.

You should aim to arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time as we will measure your child’s height and weight before their appointment.

When you arrive you can check yourself in using the electronic check-in screens in the main entrance. Your child’s name will show on the call screens when the clinician is ready to see you.

Patients are seen in order of appointment time, rather than at the time of arrival. Sometimes delays can occur due to complex cases – we will try to keep you informed of any delays.

You can help your appointment go smoothly by bringing the following with you:

  • appointment letter
  • medications
  • Personal Child Health Record (for local children)
  • ‘Born in Sheffield’ books
  • books/comics
  • toys
  • school work

Please try not to bring valuables. We cannot accept any liability for loss or damage of valuables.

A parent or legal guardian must accompany children to their appointment, but please limit the number of other family members in attendance wherever possible.

Chaperoning children

All children and young people under 18 must have an adult with them but patients aged 14 and over will be given the chance to be seen alone for part of their appointment.

A chaperone can also be present for examinations on request. Examinations are performed by trained members of staff and will always be explained to you beforehand. The role of the chaperone is to provide practical assistance with the examination and to provide support to the patient and family member/carer, as well as to the person carrying out the examination.

Older children who are making the transition to adult services will have a discussion about this process and will have the chaperone policy explained to them.

Please ask a member of staff if you have any questions.

At the appointment

You may be seen by a consultant, another doctor or by another specialist such as a nurse or therapist. Your child’s care will always be overseen by a consultant.

During your appointment you may need to visit other areas:

  • If your child needs to be weighed and measured you will be shown to a private changing room (your child may be asked to undress so please make sure they wear suitable clothes for the appointment)
  • Children having eye examinations may need to have eye drops
  • Some tests may include an x-ray or scan. If this is required you will be directed to the x-ray room within the Outpatients Department. The procedure is normally like taking a photograph and the results will be sent to your consultant for discussion at this appointment or your next appointment.
  • Sometimes we need to take a blood sample from your child. This may mean a small needle being inserted into the back of the hand or a thumb prick of blood. The procedure is generally quick although you may have to wait to be seen by a nurse who takes the blood.

After your appointment you may need a follow up appointment or test. You can arrange this at a staff base or the main reception hub.

If you need to collect medicines, ask for directions to our pharmacy.

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