We understand that it can be a difficult and distressing time for parents when visiting our outpatient services and that you will have many questions about your appointment and issues concerning your child. This information has been put together, with parent/carers who have been through the process, to hopefully answer your questions and to give you an idea of what to expect when you come for your appointment.
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Bexhill Outpatients department
Bexhill Outpatients departments is within Bexhill Hospital. Access to the department is via the main reception at the very front of the building. You will then be directed behind and to the right and through to areas A, B or C, Outpatient Waiting Area. This is a general area for both Adults and Children and has a small designated area for children to play, supervised, whilst waiting for their appointment. Although this is a general area, serving many different types of clinics, staff will be on hand and more than happy to answer any questions whilst you are waiting.
We appreciate that waiting for your appointment and the months following diagnosis can be a difficult time. There are lots of local and national organisations available to offer help, advice and support. There are organisations that run clubs and workshops for children, while others offer parenting courses and advice. Some of the organisations are run by parent/carers who run groups that can be a good source of support and offer a great opportunity to find out more about the services that are on offer from the people who use them. For more information go to the SEND Local Offer:
Free parking is available either on site in visitor areas or on the main road at the front of the hospital or in a side road. It is always a good idea to arrive at the hospital 20 minutes before your appointment so you can find a space.
Follow the directions to the main entrance where you will be signposted to the Outpatient department.
You should take your child’s Red Book as this may help you with information about your child’s milestones and any reports that you have. These may be school letters, School Based Plans (SBP) or Additional Needs Plans (ANP); any private reports, and if you have come from abroad, any reports that you have with an English translation. You may also want to make note of any questions that you wish to ask or your own observations about your child to bring with you.
Your appointment letter should state approximately how long the appointment will take. It is a good idea to bring snacks and/or lunch for you and your child.
You do not need to check in at outpatients in the front area of the hospital, you can just go straight round to Outpatients. When you arrive, you will need to report to one of the uniformed staff called HCA’s (Healthcare Assistants) and then take a seat to wait for your turn.
There can be several adult clinics going on at the same time for various different reasons, so there may be other people using the waiting area.
This is a good idea but is not essential. There may only be one staff member on duty in the clinic, apart from the diagnostic team, so having another person to support you and your child (key worker, family member, friend) will give you more chance to talk to the team. Your child may be feeling anxious and another family member can be a reassuring presence and support to you both.
It is a good idea not to bring other children with you; if possible, as space is limited and you will want to focus on your child who is seeing the diagnostic team.
It is best to aim to arrive 15 to 20 minutes before your appointment. Sometimes it can take time to find a parking space (if coming by car).
Your appointment will be with one of our doctors, normally a Consultant Paediatrician. There will also be Health Care Assistants and possibly a Speech and Language Therapist. Occasionally there may be trainee doctors or Health Visitors observing. You will be asked if it is all right for them to join the appointment, so that they can learn from observing the diagnostic team. You may feel that this is not appropriate and you can of course refuse this request.
If there is someone available to sit with your child, you may be seen by the doctor without your child initially whilst they wait in the waiting area. If this is the case, your child would then be invited into the room to see the Doctor once the initial information has been gathered from you. If you do not wish for the Doctor to speak about their findings in front of your child please make that clear when you speak with the Doctor.
This will depend on the information received prior to the appointment and the findings during the appointment. In some cases a diagnosis will be given, if appropriate. However, this may depend on which clinic your child is attending. This should be clear from the initial letter you receive , as this should explain the type of clinic you will be attending. It may be that your child will require further assessment, or further information may be required.
When you arrive a nurse will introduce themselves and ask to take weight, height and head circumference measurements. No invasive tests will be carried out. Your permission will be requested prior to these measurements and separate appointments will be offered for any other type of tests or assessments that might be required, at a later date.
Yes there is a toilet that can be used by families.
Yes, your child can bring a toy. It may be also advisable to bring some small snacks and/or a lunch with you. As you enter the hospital main entrance, there is a small shop where snacks can be purchased if required.
If you do need to cancel your appointment, please contact the number below, as soon as possible, in order that we can offer this to someone else. Although we may not be able to offer you an alternative immediately, this will help us reduce our overall waiting times by avoiding wasting clinic time.
You can contact the Child Development Bookings team – Tel: (01323) 414953
(please note that Bexhill outpatients cannot help with this and you would need to call this central dedicated number)
You will receive a clinic letter in the post that details the Doctor’s findings from the appointment. The letter will also state any further investigations or appointments that the Doctor will need to carry out. It will not give another appointment date; if this is required this will be sent separately.