Changes due to coronavirus – attending your clinical appointment
As the Chief Medical Officer has stated, routine NHS services will inevitably come under pressure as the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads.
The NHS has well-established escalation protocols to respond to situations such as this and hospitals have been advised on what steps they can take at a local level. This includes the rescheduling of some operations, appointments and procedures which are planned in advance.
The majority of our outpatient appointments will be conducted over telephone or video consultation; some patients will be seen face-to-face. Patients who require blood tests prior to your appointment are asked to attend their GP surgery, this is to limit your exposure. Patients will be contact by a letter outlining this.
To adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines, we kindly ask patients to attend appointments on their own. However, if you are attending our department for results or it is your first cycle of treatment, and you wish to have a relative, we ask that you are accompanied by only one relative.
We politely ask that all visitors adhere to the government’s guidelines and wear a mask or face covering during all of your appointments. If you do not have a face mask, you will be provided one upon entering the hospital.
Infusions, blood transfusion, some chemotherapy treatments and blood tests are still taking place, patient will be contacted by our service to arrange this.
We provide a comprehensive service for patients with a variety of blood related conditions.
Outpatient appointments are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm although times may vary depending on which days your consultant has their clinics.
The type of treatment you receive will depend upon your individual condition and this will be explained in more detail by your doctor or one of the specialist nursing team.
We will provide, wherever possible, further written information about your condition and the particular drugs or treatments that will be offered to you. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions.
We encourage a shared decision making approach. This mean that any decisions regarding your care or treatment are made following discussions with you about all the treatment options available, the side effects of any treatments and how these may affect you.
You may find it helpful prior to your appointment to write down the questions you would like to ask. This may include the following:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What does this treatment involve?
- What are the possible side effects of this treatment?
- Are there any alternatives?
For some patients it is necessary to give treatment that requires admission to hospital, either as a day-case or as an in-patient and this will be explained to you.
Some day-case treatments can take a number of hours to give, in which case, some people like to have someone with them for company.
We will wherever possible allow a relative or friend to stay with you but as there is limited space available, we would be grateful if you could limit this to one person.
At busy times, due to limited space they may be unable to stay with you whilst you have treatment.
We advise you to arrive approximately 5 minutes before your appointment time. As waiting room space is limited please do not arrive more than 10 minutes before your appointment time.
Getting to your appointment
The haematology day unit is located at The James Cook University Hospital on the ground floor at the Bridge entrance, next to the marton day unit.
Generally there is no reason why you cannot drive yourself to and from your haematology appointment.
If you are having treatment on the day it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor or nurse if you will be safe to drive yourself home.
If necessary we will ask that a relative or friend can take you home following any treatment.
If you need an ambulance to bring you to hospital this needs to be arranged by your GP surgery but you must give them at least 48 hours notice.
Please note that it is only possible to arrange ambulance transport for patients where there is a genuine medical need.
If you are having difficulty getting to hospital please speak to the receptionist or telephone the receptionist on 01642 282763.
Parking spaces, particularly at busy times, cannot be guaranteed. We advise you to leave plenty of time to get to your appointment.
Parking fees are payable at both sites and vary depending on the length of stay.
If you are visiting the hospital on a regular basis, the trust can offer you a regular car parking permit at a reduced rate; please ask our receptionist in the department for an application form, or speak to a member of your healthcare team.
We also have a number of disabled parking bays for registered badge holders.
As disabled parking spaces are also limited we would also advise that you leave plenty of time before your appointment, particularly at busy times.
If you think that you may qualify for a disabled parking permit please contact your local council.
You may be able to claim your expenses for travelling to and from the hospital if you or your partner are receiving:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Pension credit guarantee credit (incapacity benefit or disability living allowance do not count)
- You are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate
- You are named on a valid HC2 certificate (includes travel by your dependent children)
- You are a war pensioner and the treatment is for your accepted disablement.
You will need to take these to the travel desk located in the North entrance reception area at The James Cook University Hospital.
If you have any queries regarding the above, please speak to our receptionist.
We kindly request that all mobile phones are switched off or to silent while you are in the unit.
What should I do if I cannot come to my appointment?
It is extremely important to both you and us that you attend your appointments. If for any reason you have to cancel your appointment please try to give us at least 48 hours notice as we can then allocate your slot to another patient.
If you cannot give us 48 hours notice please let us know as soon as possible.
Cancellation or alteration of appointments can be made Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm by phoning the haematology secretaries on 01642 854377.
If you are delayed in getting to your appointment please telephone the day unit directly.
What should I do if I need an urgent appointment?
If you need to see your haematology doctor urgently please call to discuss this on the above numbers (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
If you are unwell please contact the haematology nurses directly:
Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided in the treatment area of the department. A light lunch is served over the lunch time period for our patients receiving lengthy treatments.
There is a restaurant situated in the hospital where hot food can be purchased and a coffee shop serving sandwiches, cakes and hot/cold drinks.
You will also find various shops (including a newsagent and cafe) in the main hospital mall.
What to bring
Please bring a list of all your current medication and your reading glasses if worn. You may also want to bring a book or magazine if your treatment is likely to last for several hours.
We have a limited supply of DVD players, so you might like to bring some DVD’s with you. Please bring your own headphones.
What else should I know about my visit?
Often we need to wait for the results of your blood test before the doctor or nurse can see you.
This can take up to an hour at busy times. If you are concerned about the amount of time you have been waiting please see the receptionist.
The haematology unit has a number of specialist nurses who are qualified to prescribe certain medications.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this please do not hesitate to ask. Please note that we cannot prescribe your regular medications.
It is hospital policy that your general practitioner (GP) prescribes them.
Supervision of children
The trust cannot take any responsibility for the care of children when accompanying patients who are attending the department for a clinic appointment or treatment.
You must therefore make alternative arrangements to ensure children are supervised at all times whilst in the department.
We will not give out information about you or your diagnosis to anyone except your GP without your permission.
Under certain circumstances you have a right to see information about yourself which is held by us, under the terms of the Access to Health Records/Data Protection Act.
For further details please contact the health records manager (telephone 01642 854789).
Staff on the unit
During your visits you will come into contact with a number of different health care and support staff which may include the following:
- Haematology medical staff – one of the consultant haematologists will be responsible for your overall care. On some visits you may be seen by another member of the haematology medical team.
- Medical students – as a training hospital we have a number of medical students. These may be present during your outpatient appointment or medical procedures which is a valuable part of their training. You can request that the medical students are not present during your appointment.
- Clinical nurse specialists – we have a number of clinical nurse specialists within the department. The clinical nurse specialists run nurse-led clinics and you will often see them more than your medical team, however, they do have regular meetings with your consultant to discuss any concerns raised.
- Nursing staff – there are a number of experienced haematology nurses who will care for you during your stay with us.
- Health care assistants – we have a number of experienced health care assistants in the department who will help to look after you
- Phlebotomists – these are experienced health care practitioners who will take your blood samples.
- Receptionist – our receptionist will book you into clinic and make your follow up appointment, she can also advise you on transport to get to and from your appointment.
Common terms and abbreviations
We do try very hard not to use language or words that are not clearly understood, however there are a number of common terms you may hear during your visits. If you do not understand what is being said please tell us immediately.
The following terms are words or phrases which you may hear us use in the haematology department.
Bloods – You may nearly always be required to have blood samples taken during your appointments.
The means that a small needle will be inserted into a vein on your forearm or hand and blood will be withdrawn.
The type of blood sample and the reason why we need to take it varies depending on your condition. Please feel free to ask what samples are being taken and why.
Some common ones include the following:
- Full blood count (FBC) – The test includes your haemoglobin level, platelet count, white blood cell count and amongst a lot of other things can tell us if you are anaemic or if you might be at risk of bleeding or infection.
- LFTs (liver function tests)
- U & Es (Urea and electrolytes) – this test monitors your kidney function and checks other things like sodium and potassium levels.
- Bone profile – this test checks things like calcium levels.
- Blood cultures – These may be taken if you have a temperature or feel unwell and looks for signs of infection in the blood.
- INR or clotting screen – If you are on warfarin we need to monitor the INR levels in your blood in order to ensure you are taking the correct dose of warfarin.
- HIV testing – We do test for HIV on the unit. You will be informed that this test has been requested. You have the option to refuse this test. If you have any queries or concerns regarding this please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the medical or nursing team.
If any other tests are required either your doctor, nurse or the phlebotomist or the person taking the blood sample will explain the nature of the test. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.
If you have a concern or query about the care you or your relative is receiving or any aspect of our service, please raise it immediately with a member of the health care team.