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Outpatient Clinics

This information is to help you during your visit to our hospital. You may also find it useful to refer to the other sections such as General Information. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff.

Your appointment

If an appointment has been made for you to attend an outpatient clinic at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, you will find details of the date, time and which clinic you are to attend on your appointment card. Any additional information regarding your appointment is contained on a coloured page enclosed with your card.

You are welcome to bring a relative or friend with you.

Please bring your medicines with you, or a note of all your medication, when you attend for your appointment.

A specialist is always responsible for the clinic session. You may not be seen by them, but by another clinician who can discuss your management with the specialist if required.

If you need a lifting aid (such as a hoist or stand aid) during your visit, please phone the clinic as soon as possible using the phone number that is printed on your appointment letter to arrange this with staff.

Hospital appointments and waiting times

The NHS in Scotland has set national waiting times targets, which say how quickly you should be able to get a hospital or outpatient appointment, or be admitted for treatment. We want to make sure that all patients who are waiting are treated fairly.

  • For routine appointments or hospital treatment, you should not have to wait longer than 18 weeks.
  • Your waiting time will be counted from the date the hospital puts you on the waiting list. They will do this as soon as they get the letter from your GP referring you to hospital.
  • You may not need to wait the full 18 weeks. Often, you will get an appointment earlier than this.

To make sure your waiting time is kept as short as possible:

  • Contact the hospital as soon as you know you cannot attend an appointment or admission (the telephone number will be on your appointment card or letter).
  • Arrive for your appointment or admission at the right time.
  • Tell hospital staff and your GP as soon as possible if you change your address or telephone number.
  • Let hospital staff know if there are any dates you know you will be unable to attend, such as holidays.

Your GP will not be able to arrange for an earlier appointment unless your condition deteriorates.

If, unfortunately, your condition does deteriorate whilst you are waiting for your appointment, you should make a new appointment with your GP who will consider what needs to be done.

There are times when you might have to wait longer than the national waiting times set by the NHS:

  • If you do not turn up for your appointment or admission, the time you have to wait to be seen at the hospital will be counted from the date you were supposed to attend.
  • If you cancel your appointment or admission, the time you have to wait will be counted from the day you contact the hospital to cancel.
  • In some cases, the hospital may ask you to go back to your GP, who will then decide whether to re-refer you. Your waiting time will be counted from the date this is done.

For further information, please read the Hospital Appointments & Waiting Times Explained leaflet:

Link opens in new windowHospital Appointments & Waiting Times Explained (web version)
Link opens in new windowHospital Appointments & Waiting Times Explained (pdf version, 260kb)

On arrival

Please hand your card in at the Clinic Reception desk. The Clinic Receptionist will check your identification details. You will then be asked to go to the clinic waiting area and you will be seen according to your appointment time.

We aim to see patients at their appointment time, or at least within 30 minutes of their appointment time. If delays are likely, we will keep you informed of the reason and how long you are likely to have to wait. Please note, several types of clinic may be running at the same time. If you are diabetic you should bring a snack with you in case you are delayed.

Some tests may have to be performed before you are examined, and in a number of clinics you may be asked to provide samples of blood and / or urine.

All permanent members of staff wear a name badge that bears a photograph to help you identify them.

Unauthorised photography, filming or recording

No one is allowed to make unauthorised photos, video or audio recordings in NHS Grampian buildings and grounds, particularly if they feature other patients, staff, carers, or visitors.  This is to respect the privacy and dignity of individuals using our services and also our staff.

Your consultation

A specialist is always responsible for the clinic session. You may not be seen by him or her, but by another clinician who can discuss your management with the specialist if required.

If it is decided at your consultation that you need surgery, you will need to have your fitness for an operation assessed (known as pre-admission assessment). This is carried out immediately after your consultation in the Outpatient Department, the Short Stay Unit or in Phase 2 of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Staff will direct you to the right place. If your assessment can't be carried out immediately after your consultation, we will arrange another appointment for this to be done.

Your assessment will be carried out by health care professionals and can take from 30 minutes up to several hours. Having an assessment done at this time means that you will have to spend less time in hospital when you come in for your operation.


If you have any questions about your care or treatment, please ask a doctor / nurse. You may find it helpful to have a friend or relative with you. If you are not sure about any answers, please ask the doctor / nurse to explain further.

Clinical Teaching

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is a teaching hospital where we train students and conduct research. Whilst recognising that you need not assist in teaching or research, it is hoped that you will wish to help us if asked to do so. Please inform the staff if you do not wish students to be present during your consultation.

After your appointment

You may be asked to return to the clinic. The hospital specialist will send your GP a report advising of any treatment, or further investigations needed.

If your treatment is to begin immediately, you will be given a letter to hand to your GP.

Patients attending and returning home by ambulance

If you are coming to hospital by ambulance and if you:

  • Live in Aberdeen city - please be ready at least one hour before your appointment time.
  • Live rurally or on the outskirts of Aberdeen - you should be ready to travel from 8.30am for a morning appointment and 12.30pm for an afternoon appointment.

Every effort is made by the Ambulance Service to bring you to the clinic on time. If there are any delays, please do not be concerned as you will be seen as soon as possible after your arrival at the clinic.

If the ambulance does not arrive please contact the Clinic Receptionist at the telephone number on your appointment card. They will investigate the delay on your behalf and get back to you as soon as possible.

If you are returning home by ambulance you will be picked up from the same clinic area. You may have to wait for an ambulance to take you home. The Clinic Reception staff will keep you informed of any delays. Please tell the clinic staff if you are leaving the clinic or if you have been waiting a long time.

If you qualify for ambulance transport and need an ambulance for your next appointment please let the staff at the clinic know.

NHS inform

This website provides information about your health rights and responsibilities when using the NHS in Scotland.