We understand coming to hospital may be worrying so we do our best to make it as easy and comfortable as possible. This page contains information to help you get the most out of your visit.
Remember to check which hospital you're due at before setting out.
Our hospitals are big and it can take a while to get to where you're supposed to be. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to find your way to your appointment.
Arriving at the hospital
Please go the location written on your appointment letter. If you are not sure where to go, ask at the main reception.
The clinic receptionist will book you in and explain what will happen next. Please let the receptionist know if any of your personal details have changed, like your address.
To help us meet your needs we will ask you questions about your ethnic background. You do not have to answer these if you don't want to.
We do our best not to keep you waiting, although delays sometimes happen. We'll tell you if there is likely to be a delay.
Your medical team
usually, you will be seen by a consultant (senior doctor) or a member of their medical team. However, you may be seen by other staff, such as a nurse consultant, a nurse specialist, a midwife or a therapist.
All staff wear an identity badge with their name and job title on it, so you know who they are. They also wear different coloured uniforms to help you recognise them more easily.
If you are unhappy about any aspect of your care, speak to someone in charge of the clinic, who will try to sort things out for you there and then.
Will there be students around?
Both Guy's and St Thomas' are teaching hospitals, responsible for training a wide range of health professionals. This means that students, supervised by qualified staff, may be involved in your care. It does not affect the quality of your treatment in any way, but does provide valuable training for the students.
If you do not want to be seen by students, please tell the doctor or nurse in charge - it won't affect your care in any way.
Involving you in your care
We want to make sure you fully understand your condition and the options available to you.
Before you receive any treatment the doctor will explain what he or she is recommending and will answer any questions you may have. No treatment is carried out without your consent unless it is an emergency and you are unconscious.
We are a major centre for health research, developing future treatments and care. You might be asked to take part in a study. The researcher will explain the study in detail to you, including its aims, why you would be suitable to take part and what it would involve. If you decide to take part, you will be asked to sign a consent form. If you do not want to take part, your care will not be affected in any way.
If you are unsure about anything, please ask.
Is my treatment confidential?
Everyone working in the NHS has a legal duty to keep any information about you confidential. Your information is only shared with those who need to provide your care, including your GP, unless you ask us not to do this.
To give you the most effective care, we hold health records for all our patients. This includes names, addresses, telephone numbers and medical history information.
No information about you will be used in a way that can identify you unless we have sought your permission. We may use some of the information about you for research or education, but only after we have removed any details which would make it possible to identify you.
Before you leave your appointment
Make sure you know:
- what might be wrong
- whether you need any tests
- what treatment is best for you
- what happens next and who to contact.
If the doctor prescribes medicines, you will be asked either to collect these from the hospital pharmacy or from your GP.
There are also some smaller specialist pharmacies. If you need to go to one of these staff will explain where you need to go.
Pharmacy staff can tell you about your medicines, so please feel free to ask them questions.
Current prescription charges apply to all medicines.
If you're entitled to free prescriptions, bring proof of entitlement with you, such as proof of income support, family credit or disability benefit, or a prescription prepayment certificate.
Our spiritual care and chaplaincy service offers 24-hour spiritual, religious and cultural care.
For more information about our services including how to contact us and details of religious services see the spiritual health care section.