Your Appointment During COVID-19
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that services are being delivered across the NHS. The need to minimise face-to-face contact to reduce the spread of the illness and keep safe means virtual appointments (telephone & video) are currently the most appropriate way of receiving treatment.
What Happens in Telephone & Video Appointments?
All first appointments are being completed over the telephone by a clinician. All our clinicians are able to provide an expert assessment and they will discuss your symptoms with you and appropriate, available management options. They will be able to send you advice, exercises and video guidance depending on what is most appropriate for your particular condition.
Your clinician will call you to discuss your problem. They may also ask you to do some movements so a loud speaker function on your phone may help with this.
Video consultations are available in a limited capacity at this time. We are working to expand this as quickly as possible.
This has all the qualities of the telephone call with the added benefit of your clinician being able to see you and you them. This is particularly helpful to see how you are moving and can make following their instructions easier as they can demonstrates movements for you. You will need a smart phone for this with enabled webcam/camera and microphone.
How will the Clinician Know what my Problem is if they can’t See or Touch it?
Much of the information that our clinicians use to work out what is going on with your body, and how they can help, comes from what you say and what you tell them. Before the pandemic some patients were already receiving effective treatment via virtual appointments. Despite only becoming more commonplace recently this is not a new process. It has been proven to be effective in managing many problems for many people.
Can I be Referred for a Diagnostic Scan or to a Hospital after My Appointment?
Referrals for diagnostics (eg. X-Rays and scans) have not yet returned to normal. The service is able to refer for urgent diagnostics where this is deemed clinically appropriate but is currently not able to refer patients for routine diagnostics.
Referrals to hospital for routine surgery have not yet returned to normal as hospitals continue to support patients with COVID19 and life threatening conditions. We are working with our colleagues in hospitals to understand when this will resume but until this time, we are unable to make referrals to hospitals for routine surgery.
If surgery has been considered clinically appropriate for you and this is something you would like to pursue (or still want to pursue if you have already been seen in our service) we will contact you in due course to complete the referral.
Can I be Given a Steroid Injection?
We will be looking to start offering injections in the coming weeks, however, we are not offering routine injections currently. NHS England guidance is that Steroid Injections can suppress the immune system and make you (and those around you) more vulnerable to infections and viruses.
As a result of this you will only be offered a steroid injection if you have:
- Significant disease activity and/or intrusive and persisting symptoms that are having a profound effect on your Activities of Daily Living (as assessed by a clinician).
- There are no appropriate alternatives and conservative measures have failed to help (as assessed by a clinician).
I Have Been Told I Need to Come in because I am Post-Surgery / High Priority
For certain high priority conditions, and for those who have just had surgery, you may be asked to attend a face-to-face appointment. This appointment will be for a physical assessment only, any discussion after the assessment about findings and treatment will need to happen over the phone once you have left the department.
- Your clinician will be wearing full PPE (mask, gloves, and apron) at all times during the appointment.
- You will need to wear a mask at all times when inside the hospital/clinic.
- You will need to wait outside the clinic/hospital until your appointment time.
- Only those with an appointment will be allowed into the department (unless this has been agreed beforehand).
A letter will be sent out to you with all the details of your appointment as well as what will happen leading up to, and on the day of the appointment.
These face-to face appointments will be at specific clinic locations. For maps, parking, public transport, and mobility access information follow the link below to your appointment location.