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Top Tips for getting the information you want from your outpatient’s appointment

Before your appointment

  • Write down your two or three most important questions.
  • List (you could bring your repeat prescription) all your medicines and pills - including vitamins and supplements.
  • Write down details of your symptoms, including when they started and what makes them better or worse.
  • If you need an interpreter, translator or other support with communication, please arrange this with your surgery or hospital before your appointment.
  • A friend or family member is welcome to come with you, if you would be more comfortable

During your appointment

  • Do not be afraid to ask if you don't understand, For example, "Can you say that again please?" or "I still don't understand."
  • If you don't understand a word, phrase or medical term, please ask for it to be written down and explained in a way you can understand.
  • Write things down, or ask a family member or friend to take notes.

Before you leave your appointment

  • Check that:

- You have covered everything on your list
- You understand what you have been told, for example, you could say "Can I just check that I understood what you said?"
- You know what should happen next - and when. Write it down.

  • Ask:

- Who to contact if you have any more problems or questions.
- About support groups and where to go for reliable information, and
- For copies of letters written about you - you are entitled to see these but currently patients are not automatically sent them so make sure that you ask at your appointment

After your appointment, don't forget the following

  • Write down what was discussed and what will happen next. Keep your notes.
  • Book any tests that you can and put the dates in your diary.
  • Ask:

- "What is happening if I am not sent my appointment details, what do I need to do?"
- "Can I have the results of my tests?" - If you do not get results when you expect them, you can ask for them. You can also ask what the results mean.