We welcome you on your visit as an outpatient to this hospital and we will try to ensure your visit goes smoothly.

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.

Things to bring with you

  • Your appointment letter
  • A list of any medicines or tablets you are currently taking
  • Any samples asked for in your appointment letter
  • A list of any questions you want to ask.

If this applies to you or someone you care for:

Patient Access Centre

It is important that our patient administration system contains your up to date contact and GP details. Therefore if you have recently moved, changed your GP practice or changed your landline or mobile telephone number, then please call us or tell the receptionist in the clinic area.

The appointment booking team’s opening hours are:

Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm

Please note that our contact centre is busiest on weekdays between 9am and 11:30am. You may prefer to ring outside those times to minimise your queuing time.

We now provide an email service (sdhct.pac@nhs.net) for patients to enquire about, make or cancel, outpatient appointments.

We also offer an appointment text reminder service for mobile telephone users. If you would like to receive text reminders for your appointments, please let us know. We will only send you text reminders if you have given your permission for us to do so.

The team provides a telephone contact centre service for the majority of outpatient clinics including:

Outpatient SpecialtyTelephone Number
Audiology01803 656325
Breast Care01803 656354
Colorectal, Upper GI and General Surgery01803 656352
Cardiology, Respiratory Medicine, Nephrology, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Thoracic Medicine, Thoracic Surgery and Cardiac Rehabilitation01803 656335
Care of the Elderly01803 656337
Dermatology01803 656322
Diabetes, Endocrinology and Neurology01803 656336
Ears, Nose and Throat01803 656324
Gastroenterology01803 656338
Gynaecology01803 656355
Haematology01803 655237
Oncology01803 655380
Ophthalmology01803 656350
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery01803 656321
Orthopaedics01803 656300
Orthoptics01803 656351
Paediatrics01803 656356
Pain Management01803 656360
Plastic Surgery01803 656323
Rheumatology01803 656339
Trauma01803 656320
Urology and Vascular Surgery01803 656353

Unable to attend your appointment?

Every year thousands of people fail to keep their outpatient appointments at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust clinics. If patients let us know that they will be unable to attend, then we will be able to offer the appointment to someone else who really needs it.

If you think you will be unable to attend your appointment, please remember to let the appointment team know as soon as possible in advance. You can let us know either by phone (using one of the numbers listed above) or by email to the booking team (sdhct.pac@nhs.net). Please include details of your name, date of birth, NHS number, preferred daytime contact number, clinic/consultant details (if known) and a brief message.

Finding us

If you are unsure where in the hospital your appointment will be, please ask at any reception desk or approach a member of staff or League of Friends volunteer.

Most, but not all, clinics are held in the main Outpatients Department which is on Level 2 of the hospital and has its own entrance, near Car Parks A, D and E.

If you come by car, you will need to pay for parking unless you have a disabled badge. So make sure you have enough change and also allow some extra time to find a parking space and get your parking ticket. There are disabled parking spaces close to most entrances, so if you are not sure where to park look at the map for the nearest appropriate space to the hospital zone or clinic you are attending. Disabled badge holders can also park free-of-charge in any Pay and Display space.

If you spend longer than expected in the hospital and you think your ticket will expire, make sure the reception is aware that you have gone to pay for another ticket.

If your appointment runs over, please notify a member of reception staff or the nurse if you are worried about your parking time. They can then let the relevant parking staff know.

For certain conditions and treatments that involve regular, repeat attendances for long periods of time, patient car parking is free. This will be addressed at your first appointment. Your letter for subsequent appointments will also indicate if there are parking spaces specifically allocated to the clinic or treatment area that you will be attending.

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, evening and mobile telephone numbers.
  • Your GP’s name and address.
  • Specimens (if requested).

You might also get asked your Ethnic category. This is only to comply with Government guidelines and once this is captured on the system you will not be asked for it again.

Another question you might be asked is “Have you lived in the UK for more than 12 months” and be asked to show your European Health Insurance Card. This only applies to visitors to the country that do not live in a country that has a reciprocal agreement regarding medical care with the UK.

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 identity / security badges.

Waiting times

During your first outpatient visit, you may have a longer appointment than subsequent ones. The length of time varies as you may need to have 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, perhaps because the doctor has had to break bad news to a previous patient, but clinic staff should always tell you if a delay has occurred. Arriving early for your appointment does not mean we will see you earlier.

If in clinic the consultant or clinician decides that an inpatient or day case visit is required, you may be asked to stay a little longer and attend a pre-assessment clinic. This prevents the need for you to come back to attend a pre-assessment clinic on another date. The pre-assessment allows us to ensure your inpatient or day case stay runs as smoothly as possible.

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.

Healthcare students

We train healthcare professionals at Torbay 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.

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 on 0300 456 8000 (local rate) or 01803 614567.

Copies of letters

You can choose to 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. Letters can include communications between health professionals including GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and therapists. If you wish to receive a copy of any letter, please mention this to the consultant or doctor you are seeing.