Your visit

A healthcare professional speaks to a young patient as they sit in a hospital bed

Inpatient and outpatient appointments


Day patient or outpatients refer to those who have an appointment in a hospital or clinic but do not need to stay overnight. Such appointments could be for treatment, diagnosis or a procedure. 


Those referred to hospital for an operation or test and need to stay overnight, or those who need to stay for treatment and monitoring are treated as an inpatient. 

How can I prepare?

What do I need to bring? 

We suggest you bring: 

  • Your appointment letter or appointment card 
  • Information about you; including your address, your GP’s address and for children, their school address. 
  • Medicines and allergy treatments; the names of the medication, what you’re taking it for and how often you take it. 

Find out what to do if you have special requirements

What happens when I am at hospital?

Where do I need to go when I arrive at the hospital? 

Your appointment letter or appointment card should tell you where to go when you arrive. 

If not, please call the number on your appointment letter or appointment card to find out where you should go. If you misplace your appointment letter or card, please contact central appointments. 

Do you need my consent before surgery or treatment? 

Yes, we do. We won’t go ahead with treatment or surgery without your permission. And you have the right to refuse any treatment or examinations. If you are not able to give your consent, staff will act in your best interests. 

Will I be looked after in a mixed-sex ward? 

We understand how important your privacy is and our priority is to ensure that you are cared for in single-sex facilities. The majority of the wards in our hospitals are single sex, or, in some cases, mixed wards with single sex bays. 

There may be some cases, particularly in emergencies, where we can’t provide single-sex accommodation. This is most likely to happen if you need to be looked after in an emergency or intensive care ward, or a high dependency or observation unit. 

Will I be asked to take part in research? 

At some point in your treatment, you may be asked to be involved in research which is relevant to your care. Your consent to be part of a research project will be asked for separately to all other aspects of your treatment. You have the right to refuse to be involved in any research – refusal will not affect the rest of your care. 

What facilities are available at the hospital? 

  • Food 
  • Shops  
  • Some wards have a mobile shop  

Can I get post? 

Yes, post is delivered every day and a member of the ward staff will bring your mail to you. To avoid delays, please ask your relatives and friends to use your full name, the name of the ward and the full address of the hospital. Outgoing mail is collected from the ward each day. 

Will I have to pay for my treatment if I am an overseas visitor? 

Yes, the NHS charges overseas patients, unless they are exempt. Clinic staff or the Paying Patients Office (020 346 55028) can advise you about this. You can find out more information here.

What happens after my appointment or hospital stay?

When will I be able to go home? 

Staff will usually agree a leaving (discharge) date with you at an early stage. Everyone involved will work towards making sure you go home on time. 

On your day of discharge, we will aim to have you ready to leave the ward by 10am. If you need to wait for transport, or for your medicine to be prepared, we’ll take you to the discharge lounge. The ward staff will let you know if they think you should be accompanied home by a friend or relative. Please make suitable plans as soon as you know your departure date. 

What happens when I am discharged from hospital? 

You will be given a letter, called a discharge letter, giving brief details of your stay in hospital, any medicines you have been advised to take and information about your discharge (leaving hospital) arrangements. Your GP will also receive a copy of this. 

If you are assessed by our transport assessment officers as being medically unable to make your own way home and you have no other means of getting home, staff can advise you about arranging hospital transport. 

Where can I collect any prescriptions?

We will give you a supply of any medicines you may need and information on how to get repeat prescriptions if you need them. 

Below is a list of where you can find our pharmacies. 

Newham Hospital 

  • Zone 12 on the ground floor, by the West Wing entrance  
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm

Outpatients at Newham Hospital who are given a prescription after their appointment can choose to have the label on their medicine translated into one of 11 languages.

Find out more

The Royal London Hospital 

  •  The Lloyds Pharmacy is near the main entrance 
  • Opening hours:  – 9am to 5.30pm - check with Lloyds 

St Bartholomew’s Hospital 

  • Ground floor KGV – again, it is a Lloyds Pharmacy 
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5.30pm – check with Lloyds 

Whipps Cross University Hospital 

  • Outpatient Dispensary/Shop on the ground floor, next to the United News Shop in the Outpatients building in the Yellow Zone 
  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm 

The standard prescription fee will be charged unless you are exempt from charges. If you are exempt, please provide proof – for example, an exemption certificate. Hospital pharmacy prescriptions are not valid for dispensing by your local community pharmacist and you should therefore collect your prescription items before you leave the hospital. 

What should I do if I have any fears or concerns? 

If you have any fears or concerns, please speak to a member of staff. If you are unable to leave your bed to speak to a member of staff you can always alert them by pushing your bedside call button or pulling the cord. 

Virtual Wards

Virtual wards is the broad term given a collection of programmes which allow patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital. 

At Barts Health, we currently have 204 virtual ward beds across a number of specialties such as frailty, respiratory and cardiology.   

How do virtual wards work? 

Patients can be referred via a GPs, or Barts Health staff or they can refer themselves. They are then triaged and a decision is made as to whether they can continue their care at home.  

If the patient and their family is happy, they are admitted onto the virtual ward and are informed on  how they will receive care, for example if it will be via phone/online and home visits and what patient/relative will need to do to manage their care at home.  Patients can be admitted for up to 14 days.  

Progress is monitored by a clinical team which includes daily ward rounds with respiratory consultants. The decision to discharge is based on the patient’s recovery along with whether any follow up care is needed. 

What are the benefits of virtual wards? 

Virtual wards offer a different type or care but they don’t suit every patient nor are they aimed at young patients or those who are able to use technology.  

Benefits include: 

  • Fewer trips to the hospital and other healthcare settings 
  • Receiving the same quality of care at in the comfort of home 

You can read about one of our patients, Elizabeth, here