Find out what to expect when you come to hospital for your appointment.

Before your appointment

You will receive an appointment within two weeks of referral. It is imperative that you attend your appointment. Please be aware that though this may require you to alter plans at the last minute, it is essential that we begin investigations and treatment if necessary as soon as possible.

We encourage you to bring a partner, relative, close friend or carer to your appointments, as you will need to discuss your condition, which could mean discussing good or bad news. When you arrive, we will ask you to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewellery, contact lenses, glasses or dentures, so we suggest you wear comfortable clothes that will be easy to remove.

Please prepare a list of all your medications, their doses, and any supplements you take. Bring detailed notes of your symptoms and try to recall when your symptoms began. If relevant, bring a diary of your daily food and drink intake. This will be very helpful in helping to plan out a plan of care for you. Some people are sensitive to certain types of food because of a condition, for example, many people with interstitial cystitis (bladder wall inflammation). Remember to check your appointment letter for anything specific you have been asked to take with you. In addition, it would be helpful if you could bring the following:

  • Your full address and telephone number(s)
  • Your appointment card and appointment letter
  • Your GP’s name and address
  • Money to pay for any prescriptions, or an exemption card
  • A list of questions you may want to ask your consultant

During your appointment

Please note that we are a teaching hospital, so medical students may be present for some appointments. If you do not wish to have them in the room please let the nurse or doctor know and the students will be asked to step outside.

Our waiting times are typically around 30 minutes. You may be asked to see a variety of doctors and nurses during your first appointment, so please expect to spend several hours at the clinic.

Where possible we will try to organise all your tests, examinations and consultations to take place during one visit to try to avoid the need for multiple visits to the hospital. However, we will always give you the opportunity to go away and think about things before making a decision on appropriate treatment.

After the clinician has asked many questions it may be necessary to perform some examinations. The clinician may then decide to refer you for further investigation to provide further information to his/her examination. The clinician will explain all this to you after examination.

After your appointment

You will be given the details of the plan for the next steps to further tests or treatment. You may also be seen by a specialist nurse who will help co-ordinate your care. After your initial appointment a letter will be sent to your GP outlining the findings of your appointment. You will be sent a copy of this letter.

Macmillan navigators

As part of the Macmillan Cancer Support and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust partnership, we’ve introduced the Macmillan cancer navigators service.

Macmillan navigators offer a single phone contact for all cancer patients. They can help with booking appointments, accessing local support services and finding answers to any questions. Please call the Macmillan navigators team with any questions you have about your cancer care. Learn more about Macmillan navigators

Patient information leaflets