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For outpatients

In response to the challenges of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we have changed many of the ways in which we provide our services.  For outpatients, this means that some of our face to face clinics will be provided at satellite units away from the main hospital site, and other appointments may be by telephone consultation.

Please note that from Monday 15 June 2020 all outpatients attending a face to face appointment at either the hospital site or elsewhere must wear a cloth face covering or face mask.  We are unable to supply face coverings and ask that you bring your own.  If the wearing of a face covering is likely to cause you particular difficulties please let us know before you attend.  Our staff will be wearing surgical masks for your protection.

Advice on wearing a cloth face covering

To minimise the risk of infection and for the health and safety of our patients and staff we are doing all we can to reduce the need for people to attend hospital or our other sites.  That is why some appointments will be for a telephone or video consultation,and our clinic staff will discuss this with patients.

Find our more about how our services are changing

If you have a face to face appointment, please be aware that:

  • If you develop a new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature and/or a loss of, or change in your usual sense of taste or smell, please telephone the team with whom you have an appointment (details on your appointment letter).  We will then postpone your appointment until you have self-isolated for seven days.
  • If someone in your household has a persistent cough or fever, and any of the symptoms mentioned above, please contact us by telephone before your appointment.  Everyone in your household may be required to self-isolate at home and not leave the house for 14 days.  If this is the case we will postpone your appointment until after the 14 day isolation period has been completed.
  • Please try to attend your appointment alone.  However, one carer is permitted for children or patients who need additional support.

Northampton General Hospital outpatient contact centre

The contact centre handles patient initiated calls concerning any re-arrangement outpatient appointments and any other outpatient enquiries.

The specialties that are using the outpatient contact centre already are detailed below with their contact number and menu option. The current opening hours of the outpatient contact centre are 08:30 – 16:30

 Directorate  Phone Number  Menu Option
 Head & Neck Appointments (excluding Audiology)  01604  523200  Option 1
 Vascular Appointments                                                              01604  523890  Option 5
 Ophthalmology New Appointments                                        01604  523925  Option 2
 Ophthalmology Follow up Appointments  01604  545485  Option 2
 Trauma & Orthopaedics Appointments                         01604  523800                    Option 3
 General Surgery Appointments                   01604  523890                  Option 1
 Urology Appointments                                           01604  523890                     Option 4


We are improving our outpatient services and working towards providing:

  • A single point of contact for our patients
  • Easier ways to reschedule appointments
  • Answers to patient queries
  • A better working environment for our teams
  • A more efficient service


This section contains important information to prepare you for your appointment including:     


Before you arrive                

Your first appointment and letter                

You will be sent, or may have already received an appointment letter, detailing arrangements for your appointment with a specialist in an outpatient clinic.                

In the letter you will find details of:                

  • The date and time of your appointment                  

  • The location of your appointment                  

  • The name of the specialist/team responsible for your care                  

  • A telephone number for you to ring if you need to cancel or change your appointment, or if you require any other help or advice                  

Please let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel or change your appointment.       

Things to bring with you                

Your appointment letter and a face covering.                

  • Any medicines or tablets you are taking (if possible please bring these in their original containers)                  

  • Any samples asked for in your appointment letter                  

  • Money for prescriptions or an exemption certificate                  

  • A list questions you want to ask.                  

Cancelling your appointment                

If for any reason you are not able to keep your appointment, please tell us as soon as possible by calling the number on your letter, so that we can give your appointment to another patient.                

When you arrive                

Finding us                

If you are unsure where your appointment is within the hospital, please ask:                

  • at main reception (Cliftonville entrance)                  

  • one of our volunteer guides, or                  

  • any member of staff       


At the clinic                

When you arrive, please book in with the clinic receptionist. Please help us by arriving for your appointment on time. It is helpful if you remember to bring your appointment letter with you so that the receptionist can locate your information quickly. The receptionist will ask you a number of questions to make sure that our records are up to date, including:                

  • Your address including the full postcode.                  

  • Your day-time and evening telephone numbers.                  

  • Your GP’s name and address.                  

  • Your next of kin’s name and address your NHS number.                  

  • Specimens (if requested).                  

After reporting to the clinic reception you will be asked to take a seat in the waiting area. As there may be limited seating and space here, we do request that you only bring one relative or friend with you to the clinic. Exceptions are made for patients with young children.                

The clinic nurse will let you know when the doctor is ready to see you. The nurse may also carry out some provisional tests, such as testing your urine or measuring your blood pressure. Doctors, nurses, therapists and clerical staff all work within the outpatient areas and can be identified by their security badges.       

Waiting times                

During your first outpatient visit, please expect to be at the hospital for at least two hours, as you may need to have various tests and x-rays. We will try not to keep you for more than 30 minutes after your appointment time.        


Sometimes appointments are delayed. This is usually for a good reason, but clinic staff should always tell you why a delay has occurred. Arriving early for your appointment does not mean we will see you earlier.                

Health care students                

We train health care professionals at Northampton General Hospital. So that our students get practical experience, we allow them to get involved in the treatment and care of patients.                

Please tell the clinic nurse if you don’t want students to be involved in your care. Your care will not be affected in any way by your decision.        

Consenting to treatment                

We want to make sure that you fully understand your condition, the treatment options available and the procedure/treatment you are about to have. Before you receive any treatment, the doctor will explain what he or she is recommending and will answer any questions you may have. This explanation should involve the risks, benefits and any alternatives. Following this explanation you may be asked to sign a consent form. You are able to refuse treatment at any time.                

Staff should make sure you are fully involved in your care and understand the treatment plan being proposed. It is important to ask questions if you are unsure about anything.  

Your personal information                 

When you come to hospital, we ask you for information to help with your care. We keep this information on file, in case you need to be treated again in the future. The information remains confidential.                

You have the right to access your health records. Should you require access, please write to the Health Records Manager, Northampton General Hospital, Cliftonville, Northampton NN1 5BD.       

Copying letters                

Unless you tell your NGH consultant otherwise, you will automatically receive a copy of letters written by one health professional to another about you. We believe that sharing these letters will help improve communications between you and your health professionals.    

What do we mean by a letter?                

A letter includes communications between health professionals including GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and therapists. This may include:                

  • letters to GPs and other community based health professionals                  

  • details of an outpatient consultation                  

  • letters from NHS health professionals to other agencies such as social services or housing                  

All the information in these letters should already have been discussed with you. However, it is important to remember that these letters provide other health professionals with clinical information about your treatment and care. Therefore, you may find that some of the language includes technical terms.  

Who can I talk to if I have questions about a letter I receive?                

Each letter will be written by a member of your consultant's team. If you wish to discuss the contents of a letter please contact the consultant's secretary via the Trust switchboard.     

No smoking                

We want to ensure that our hospital is a safe, healthy and pleasant place for all patients, staff and visitors. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on our site – either inside or outside buildings or in open areas such as car parks. We ask all patients, visitors and staff to refrain from smoking whilst on the hospital site.                

When you leave                

Please go back to the clinic reception desk before you leave the hospital.      

If you need more tests                

After some appointments you might need more tests or procedures. If you do, you might need to arrange another appointment. The receptionist will tell you how to arrange a time that is convenient for you.       

If you need to see the doctor again                 

We will give you another appointment before you leave the hospital. Sometimes we might need to change an appointment. We will tell you in advance if this happens with your appointment.                

Please notify the hospital at the earliest opportunity if you change your address, telephone number or GP.          

If you don't need to come back to the clinic                

Please tell the receptionist if the doctor tells you that don’t need to come back to the clinic, or you need to come into hospital as an inpatient.              

If you need tablets or medicines                 

You may be prescribed tablets or medicines following your consultation.                

If these need to be started straight away you will be given a prescription. Green prescriptions (that look like ones from your GP) should be taken to a community pharmacy (chemist). White prescriptions can only be dispensed by the hospital pharmacy. This is located centrally on Hospital Street, and is open from 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am - 1.00 pm on Saturdays.                

If medicines don't need to be started straight away, the hospital doctor will write to your GP with advice. Your GP will not be able to give you a prescription straight away - they usually ask for at least two working days notice.                

Prescription charges apply to hospital prescriptions in the same way as those from your GP.                

Waiting time in Pharmacy. The hospital pharmacy provides medicines for in-patients, out-patients, day-patients and to some other local hospitals and hospices. The workload is unpredictable and sometimes prescriptions need to be clarified with doctors. There is usually a wait; this could be up to an hour. Pharmacy staff will keep you informed and you should ask them any questions about your medicines if you are unsure or need more information.