Your appointment

Information on your appointment, including how to cancel or change an appointment, interpreter services, and getting disability assistance.

Waiting for your appointment and healthcare

Each year we book over 1.5 million outpatient appointments in our hospitals and referrals are rising. We are all working very hard together to ensure that patients are diagnosed and start their treatment as soon as possible.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the NHS and since the second wave of Covid-19 we have worked tirelessly to resume services and keep patients safe. All patients are prioritised according to their clinical need and then in chronological order.

As part of a new national initiative that focuses on providing our patients with the opportunity to receive care elsewhere, we like many Trusts across the NHS are taking part in a scheme that offers alternative choice (see more below).

We are also reviewing patients who have been waiting a long time to help us prioritise those in most urgent need. If you used the NHS e-Referral Service to book your appointment, you will have been given an indicative appointment and treatment waiting time. You are reminded that in many cases you have the legal right to choose where you have your NHS treatment. The NHS is offering more and more options to enable you to make choices that best suit your circumstances, giving you greater control of your care. You can view what choices are available to NHS patients in the NHS Choice Framework (opens in new window) >. Here you'll also find information about when you cannot choose – for example, if you need emergency care, or you're a member of the armed forces. Make sure you know which options apply to you.

If you haven’t been given an appointment yet

You may have been to see your GP and they advised they were going to refer you to the hospital, but you haven’t yet had an appointment through. Until you have received your appointment you will stay under the care of your GP. You do not need to contact us directly, as we know you are waiting, and we will be in touch as soon as an appointment is available. Your GP will be aware of direct access diagnostic waiting times and will only request diagnostics tests that will change the future management of your care.

Alternative choice

As part of our drive to reduce waiting lists, we are now proactively contacting patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks*, and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, to consider their options to see if they could be seen sooner at a different hospital (*some clinical exclusions apply). Eligible patients will be contacted directly. Please do not contact your GP practice or our hospitals proactively regarding this offer.

Eligible patients will be provided with more information in regard to the process when they are invited to consider their options.

What to do if your symptoms get worse

If you have an appointment date with a hospital specialist, and you feel that your symptoms are worsening, then contact the secretary for your consultant. If you are yet to receive your appointment, and you feel that your symptoms are worsening, then see your GP who can review and contact the hospital accordingly for advice if required.

What to do if you no longer require your appointment

This is not unusual, so please do not feel you have to attend simply because this has been organised. Each year more than 840,000 outpatient appointments are not attended by patients, so if you no longer require your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible, as that will allow us to offer an earlier appointment to another patient who may be waiting.

What to do if you want to raise a concern

If you feel that the hospital clinical team haven’t been able to resolve your concerns after you have spoken to them about your waiting time, you can speak to our dedicated Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) >.

Useful information while waiting

There are often things you can do and changes you can make that can help you to manage your condition whilst you are waiting. There is a range of information and guidance for each specialty, so please visit our all services and wards > website page for information for the specialism you are being treated by.

You can also access the following resources to assist you further:

Change or cancel an appointment

eReferral service

If you booked an appointment through the NHS eReferral service, you will need to:

By telephone

To change or cancel your appointment, call the clinic number on your appointment card or letter.

If you do not have the clinic number, or you are not able to get in touch with the clinic, please contact the relevant hospital switchboard:

By email

(For Royal Derby Hospital and Florence Nightingale Community Hospital only).

To change or cancel your appointment by email, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Telephone number 
  • Appointment date and time
  • Reason for requesting to change or cancel this appointment

(If you wish to cancel more than one appointment on the same day you will need to submit a separate email for each appointment).

By sending an email, you are agreeing to the following:

  • I understand that if I completely cancel this appointment and I later change my mind, I will need to return to see my GP for a new referral.
  • I understand that I need to cancel or rearrange my own hospital transport and this will not automatically be done for me.

Do not send an email if:

  • Your appointment is within the next 48 hours
  • You have an appointment with:
    • imaging (xray, CT, MRI or ultrasound)
    • maternity, obstetrics or ultrasound
    • palliative medicine
    • chemotherapy

You will need to call the relevant department directly.

Getting to your appointment

For information on getting to our hospitals, please visit the relevant pages:


Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)

If you receive benefits or are a carer or escort, you may be eligible to claim travel costs.

My Planned Care

The My Planned Care platform is an open access web-based platform designed to provide greater transparency to patients on waiting times.

If you are waiting for a hospital appointment, a procedure or treatment, you can now access an online platform called My Planned Care which gives you direct access to average waiting times as well as helpful advice and support whilst you wait.

The information is updated weekly and anyone can access it, including your carer, friends, relatives and the NHS team caring for you.

You don’t need to ring your GP, or the hospital caring for you for an update on waiting times as all of the information will be available on the My Planned Care website.   

Visit the My Planned Care website (opens in new window) >

How can a chaperone help in my appointment?

A chaperone is a person who serves as a witness for both a patient and a clinician as a safeguard for both parties during a medical examination or procedure. At UHDB, we are committed to developing a culture that promotes the privacy and dignity of all patients. We are committed to providing a safe, comfortable environment where patients and staff can be confident that best practice is being followed at all times, and the safety of everyone is of paramount importance. We recognise that some examinations and treatments, in particular where they involve intimate body parts and states of undress, can make patients feel vulnerable and distressed.

A chaperone may assist in supporting and reassuring a patient during an examination or procedure.

The healthcare worker / professional may also require a chaperone to be present for certain consultations in accordance with the practice chaperones policy.

If you feel you would like a chaperone present at your consultation, please either inform reception at the clinic you will be attending or speak to the health care professional who will be more than happy to arrange this for you.

What to expect?

You can request a chaperone be present during any examination or procedure that you feel uncomfortable with. Expect the role of the chaperone to be clearly explained to you and the person introduced to you by the health care professional who is to undertake the examination or procedure.

Who can be a chaperone?

The practice will try to ensure your chaperone is a qualified nurse or health care assistant. In some circumstances a non-clinical member of staff may be asked to chaperone. All clinical and non-clinical staff have received information on the role of the chaperone.

Arranging a chaperone

If you would like to arrange a chaperone in advance, please inform the receptionist when you book your appointment so they can arrange for a healthcare professional to be available. If during your consultation the clinician feels a chaperone is needed, they will attempt to arrange this, if possible, during the consultation. In the unlikely event a chaperone cannot be arranged you may be asked to arrange another appointment.

What is the chaperones responsibility?

  • Ensure that the conduct of the procedure is sensitive and respectful of your privacy and dignity.
  • To reassure you if you are distressed or experiencing any discomfort and to communicate this, if appropriate, to the clinician.
  • Ensure that they can communicate with you a way that you can understand.
  • To act as your advocate and to ensure that, so far as is possible and depending on the situation, ensure that if you withdraw your consent to the procedure you are supported with that.

Can a family member act as a chaperone?

Your family member cannot act as a formal chaperone. You can however request that a member of your family or a friend be present as an informal chaperone during the examination.

Can I refuse a chaperone?

You have the right to refuse a particular person as a chaperone; in this instance we will document the reasons for your refusal and an alternative chaperone will be arranged if possible.


All our staff and clinicians are trained on the laws and policies relating to data protection and confidentiality. Your chaperone will not disclose any information obtained during your examination or procedure. In all cases where the presence of a chaperone may intrude in a confidential clinician-patient discussion, their presence will be confined to the physical examination only. One-to-one communication with the clinician will continue once the chaperone has left.

Disability and language assistance

Disability assistance

If you have any special needs, please let your ward or clinic know before your visit.

It is important that we meet the needs of disabled people. If you have any comments that would help us improve the accessibility of our services, please let us know. Wheelchairs are available if required, but you are welcome to bring your own wheelchair, aids, or any other equipment that you need. Most reception areas have hearing loops.

If you are cared for by a relative or friend we would encourage your carer to talk to our staff about your particular needs. They may be able to explain about any special care you have at home that it would be helpful for our staff to know about. If you will need some extra help when you return home they can learn about this, if you wish.

Getting around the hospitals

There are a number of facilities that make it easier for people with disabilities or limited mobility to use our hospitals. Some of these services include:

  • Disabled parking spaces, close to entrances
  • 30 minute drop off bays
  • Wheelchairs at entrances
  • Hospital buggies

Language assistance

If you have difficulty in speaking, hearing or understanding English, please let us know as soon as possible so we can arrange confidential interpreting support for you. To discuss your interpreting needs, please contact the ward or clinic you will be attending.