The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is urging outpatients not to call the switchboard as it adapts appointments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During this period of social distancing and avoiding non-essential contact, outpatient appointments will be switched to telephone or video consultations or they will be postponed.
Patients will be informed by letter or telephone and clinical teams are reviewing their patient lists to identify those who still need to be seen.
The switchboard has the potential to be overwhelmed as uncertainty surrounds appointments, so patients are asked not to call the hospital, instead the hospital will contact them.
Patients should continue to attend appointments unless they are notified otherwise, and those who wish to cancel their appointment must call the hospital.
The Trust has made the appeal after receiving a large number of calls from patients concerned about their appointments.
Dr Jonathan Marks, Consultant Rheumatologist at RBCH, said: “We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause patients, but we would like to stress the safety of our patients must remain a top priority and it is important to ensure we fully complied with the actions taken by government to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
“The move to switch patients to video or telephone consultations is a sensible way forward, not just in these unsettling times, but in the future to help reduce unnecessary trips and our collective carbon footprint.
“Most importantly, the action we take now will put us in the best possible position for when we start to receive more patients with Covid-19 and we are confident it will enable us to protect the people we serve and the healthcare workers we depend on to look after the sickest in our society”
Patients who are worried should call the number on their appointment letter.
RBCH patients who have been invited to a video consultation can find out more here.
And those considering not attending an appointment in the next week should contact the number on their appointment letter.