A new system of ‘virtual’ appointments is in place for hospital outpatient clinics at Noble’s Hospital to limit the risk of exposure to coronavirus.
The focus is on preventing people attending hospital in person unless absolutely necessarily during the current outbreak, in line with the Government’s advice to stay home to help stop the spread of infection. The principles of the system apply to all medical and surgical specialities, as non-urgent appointments are scaled back to help the hospital manage increasing demand.
Clinicians will review clinics for the following six weeks and identify patients who could have their next appointment conducted by phone call or by video, or would be best advised via a letter. Some patients will still be invited to attend their appointment in person, while others will have their appointment deferred for the time being.
Patients will be offered their new appointment as directed by their clinician, at their scheduled appointment time where possible, and are asked not to phone the hospital but to await a call.
This system has already come into operation in the Paediatric department at Noble’s, which has stopped seeing children who have been booked into clinics, either as a new referral or as a patient with a long-term condition. Paediatricians will triage all clinics on a continuous basis to identify the few children where there could be a significant risk to their health if they are not seen. Parents will be offered an appointment for their child in a reduced clinic schedule from 30 March.
Parents of children who have an appointment scheduled should expect a call from a healthcare professional between one and seven days in advance of their original appointment, or a letter setting out a plan for the individual child.