Information for Outpatients
New Outpatient Assessment Centre at South Walks House in Dorchester
Dorset health organisations are working with Dorset Council to create a space for rapid access clinics in South Walks House, Dorchester, as part of a county-wide effort to tackle NHS waiting lists.
The ‘Outpatient Assessment Centre @ Dorset Health Village’ will operate out of the ground floor of the former council offices.
The initiative is being led by Dorset County Hospital in partnership with NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dorset HealthCare, LiveWell Dorset and Active Dorset, and will bring together a range of outpatient services under one roof in the town centre location.
Patients will be invited to attend orthopaedic, musculoskeletal and physiotherapy appointments at the centre, and will be able to access a wealth of health and wellbeing information and advice while they are there.
Attending the hospital during the coronavirus pandemic
Information for patients attending outpatient appointments during the coronavirus pandemic is available here. Please ensure you have read this information before attending the hospital for your appointment.
In Dorset, our hospitals, GPs, community and mental health providers, and commissioning organisations are working together with the ambition to fundamentally change the way our outpatient services are delivered.
More information about how outpatient appointments are operating across Dorset is available on the Our Dorset website.
Virtual outpatient appointments
In addition to traditional face to face appointments at the hospital, we are now delivering virtual outpatient appointments. Virtual appointments mean you do not have to attend the hospital for an outpatient appointment if the information we need to discuss with you can be done safely without a face-to-face meeting. Virtual appointments may not be suitable for all patients and how your appointment will be delivered is a clinical decision.
Telephone assessment clinics are outpatient appointments conducted by telephone. A time slot on a certain day will be allocated to you, but rather than the appointment taking place at the hospital, it will be done with you over the telephone. You do not need to attend the hospital for this type of appointment. For more information regarding Telephone Assessment Clinics please click here.
Video consultation appointments (Attend Anywhere)
Attend Anywhere is a secure web-based video platform that allows you to have your consultation via video from your home or own private space. Video consultations allow you to be seen by your clinician via an online video call avoiding the need to travel to hospital for appointments, saving you time and money.
Attend Anywhere is for patients with pre-arranged appointment times only. Patients due for appointments that could be done by video consultation will be invited to do so. For more information please click here.
Patient information leaflets and questionnaires
Some appointment letters will be accompanied by a patient information leaflet. Please read all of the information enclosed in the letter and leaflet carefully and follow any specific instructions for your appointment. If you have received your appointment by email and the letter includes a leaflet, please view the outpatient leaflets and questionnaires page here.
Cancelling or changing your appointment
If you are unable to keep your appointment, please tell us as soon as possible and, if possible, at least 48 hours before your appointment so that your appointment slot can be allocated to another patient. You can do this by calling the telephone number on your appointment letter.
Preparing for your appointment
Whether your appointment is being delivered virtually or you have been asked to attend the hospital, we recommend you make a list of important questions that you want to ask the doctor prior to your appointment. Please also ensure you know the details of any tablets or medication you are taking.
Attending the hospital for an outpatient appointment
If we cannot deliver your outpatient appointment virtually and you are asked to attend the hospital. Please report to the outpatient reception indicated on your appointment letter on your arrival. The receptionist will check your personal details to ensure the details we hold on record for you are accurate. For further information on attending the hospital for an appointment during the coronavirus pandemic, please click here.
Waiting times in clinic
Whether your appointment is virtual or face to face, all clinics run in the same way with allocated appointment times for each patient and appointments will be in time order. We do our utmost to make sure you are seen on time, however, there may be occasions when delays are unavoidable and your wait may be longer than usual.
During your clinic appointment, you may be asked to have a test such as a chest x-ray so that the doctor has all the information needed to assess you. Please be aware that it is advisable to leave extra time for your visit in case you are required to have a test carried out once the doctor has seen you.
After your appointment
If the doctor asks you to make another appointment, please return to the reception desk before you leave where we will arrange your next appointment for you.
Please be aware that if you fail to keep your appointment without notifying the Outpatient Department, or if you change your appointment more than twice, we may discharge your care back to your GP.
Patients who fail to attend their appointment cost the NHS millions of pounds every year. If you need to change your appointment please contact the number at the top of your appointment letter.
The Trust endeavours to treat patients within maximum wait times (treatment could be either an operation, medication or advice). Please refer to the NHS Constitution for further information on the NHS website here.
To help patients remember their appointments, the Trust (for the majority of specialties) provides a text reminder service. Patients will be contacted a few days before their appointment. Please ensure we have the correct mobile number on record for you. If you need to inform us of any changes to your mobile number or wish to opt out of this service, please call the number at the top of your appointment letter.
How can we keep in touch with you?
Please ensure you inform us of any changes to your contact details by contacting the Appointments Office on 01305 255779 or speaking to a receptionist when you attend for your appointment.
Patients can now choose to receive correspondence from Dorset County Hospital by email rather than post. Changing to email will enable you to receive correspondence quicker and in a convenient format. This will also help us to reduce the amount of paper we use and become more sustainable.
You can sign up to email correspondence here.
A step-by-step guide on how to sign up to email correspondence is available here.
Frequently asked questions on email correspondence are available here.
Interpretation and translation
Our aim is to ensure that our services are accessible to all patients and visitors. With adequate notice the Trust can offer interpreter services for many different languages and we can also offer sign language support. For further information regarding this please contact the PALS Team on 0800 7838058 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have been asked to attend the hospital for an appointment, please check the location of your appointment on the letter you have received. Face-to-face appointments will be at one of the following locations:
Dorset County Hospital
Weymouth Community Hospital
Bridport Community Hospital
Blandford Community Hospital
Yeatman Community Hospital
Portland Community Hospital
The Gatehouse Surgery
The nearest entrance to your appointment location will be marked on your appointment letter.
Travel and parking
Please be aware that car parking is limited at Dorset County Hospital. Due to the current coronavirus outbreak we are not accepting cash in our parking machines. Payment for parking can be made online via www.paybyphone.co.uk, via the paybyphone app or by telephoning 0330 060 4255. Parking for blue badge permit holders is free of charge and located close to all hospital entrances. We would like to ask all patients to consider other methods of transport, such as bus or train to get to their appointment. Please be aware that the hospital transport service is only available to patients that have a medical need for the transport. Eligibility criteria can be obtained via your GP.
Further information, including site maps, can be found here.
Damers Restaurant, located on North Wing Level 2 caters for patients, visitors and staff, and offers a wide choice of hot meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks. A range of snacks and refreshments are also available at the Friends of Dorset County Hospital shop on the South Wing Level 1, the Terrace Café located on South Wing Level 2 and Costa Coffee located near main reception on North Wing Level 1.
*Please be aware that due to the coronavirus pandemic The Terrace Café is closed and The Friends of DCH Shop is open limited hours until further notice. Damers Restaurant is open for staff only.
Your personal information
Please be assured that all of your information is treated confidentially and only shared on a 'need to know basis'. Under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to see information held on your health record. For details please call 01305 255442 or email Health.RecordsAdministrator@dchft.nhs.uk
There is a pharmacy on site at Dorset County Hospital where you can collect medicines that may be prescribed to you at your appointment. The pharmacy can be found on the South Wing Level 0, using Entrance 2. For more information please click here.
We have a responsibility to protect our staff from violence, threatening behaviour and verbal abuse. Staff have the same rights as patients to be treated with respect and dignity at all times and are asked to record incidences of violence and aggression.
This hospital actively contributes to research. You may therefore be approached to discuss the opportunity to participate in a study. More information about the Research and Innovation Department is available here.
Copying letters to patients
You are entitled to receive a copy of any letter that is sent to your GP from your hospital consultant. Please ask your consultant at your appointment who will request that a copy is sent to your usual address.
No smoking policy
A no smoking policy is strictly enforced at all our hospital sites. If you would like assistance to give up smoking, please speak to your GP about getting support or contact the LiveWell Dorset service on 0800 840 1628, or visit www.livewelldorset.co.uk/stop-smoking
Mobile telephones can be used in the hospital. However, they should not be used around sensitive medical equipment where there is a particularly high risk of interference. Signs around the hospital will make it clear which areas you shouldn't use your mobile telephone in. In these areas, mobile telephones should be switched off or have 'airplane mode' enabled. Please do not just leave the device on silent or vibrate as it could still affect medical equipment. For further information please click here.
Please call the phone number on your appointment letter or our Appointments Office on 01305 255779 for any queries.