The information contained in this page is designed to help make your visit to all our outpatient departments as straightforward as possible. If there is anything else that you would like to know, or if you have any queries at all, please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff for assistance.

Booking an outpatient appointment

The outpatient appointment booking team handles the booking of all new and follow up appointments for consultant-led services.

If your GP, Dentist, or Optometrist feels that you require an appointment within a hospital setting, your referral will be sent to our outpatient booking department.  The first appointment is usually made by your doctor’s Surgery through the e-referrals system which will offer you several hospitals to choose from.  It may allow you to select multiple hospitals or sites for East Lancs Hospitals NHS Trust.  Please select as many different sites for East Lancs Hospitals NHS Trust as you can.  If your first appointment is booked to a different site than you would have liked, we can arrange for your next appointment to be in a different location, if your consultant has outpatient clinics there.

If your referral has not been made through the Choose and Book System, your referral letter will be received by the Booking Centre staff.  When an appointment is available for you, we will either attempt to call you to book an appointment date, or a letter may be sent through the post to you, therefore, it is very important to check that the person who referred you has your correct address, mobile and home telephone numbers so that they communicate the correct details to us.

If you cannot manage to book your appointment on the Choose and Book system, it is probable that all the appointments for that service are full.  Your referral will still come through to the hospital and we will then liaise with the Manager for that specialty to arrange an appointment for you.

Additional support

If you require assistance such as a language or sign language interpreter, please discuss this with a member of our staff prior to your appointment by contacting the relevant out-patient department booking centre and we will endeavour to meet your needs. The telephone number will be on your letter or appointment card.

To meet the needs of the profoundly deaf, the Trust provides text phones and loop systems at key locations. Please let us know in advance by text phone or by dropping us a line. We try very hard to make our services accessible to everyone and take pride in meeting everyone’s religious and cultural needs.

Need to cancel or change your appointment?

It is very important that you inform us as soon as possible if you cannot attend any appointments you have booked.  This enables us to reallocate that appointment time to another patient which will help keep waiting times down to a minimum.  If you cancel at very short notice, we are often unable to offer your appointment to anyone else.  If you don’t notify us that you can’t attend, you will be discharged back to the care of your General Practitioner and will have to be re-referred to us if you need treatment in the future.  Please also note that if you cancel several times you may be discharged back to the care of your General Practitioner.

Details of how to cancel or reschedule your appointment will be on your appointment letter or card.

Mobile phone appointment letters

From Wednesday 6 June 2018, East Lancashire Hospitals will begin to introduce electronic patient letters starting with the some outpatient clinics within the hospital.

Please click here for more information about our new mobile phone appointment letter service.

When you get here:

Tablets and medicines

It is very important that you bring with you all your current medicines in their original containers or an up to date and accurate list of all current medication you are taking including dosage and frequency.

You can obtain this from your GP practice. If this is not available please bring a hand written list.


We recommend that you bring an appropriate and sufficient method of payment for any prescriptions you may need to collect from the hospital Pharmacy following your appointment. Usual payment exemptions apply in the hospital pharmacy.

Eye Clinic (Ophthalmology)

If you are attending the Eye Clinic, you may need to have drops put in your eyes making it unsafe to drive for at least eight hours afterwards. If it is a possibility that this will apply to you, please make appropriate arrangements so you do not have to drive and you can get home safely.

No Smoking

The Trust operates a Smokefree Policy. Patients, visitors and staff are not allowed to smoke within any hospital building or in the hospital grounds. Please help support this policy, which has been introduced for the health and comfort of everyone

On Arrival

At the hospital, please report to the appropriate clinic that is indicated on the appointment card or letter. Please inform the receptionist if any of your personal, contact or GP details have changed.

Self-Check In

To avoid queuing why don’t you try our self check-in service which is available within the hospital? This allows you to check-in for your outpatient appointment by simply following the instructions on screen and confirming your details. Once you have successfully booked in you can then proceed to the appropriate clinic waiting area and take a seat until your name is called

The kiosks are designed to allow patients to self-check in for their outpatient appointment and to avoid queuing at the reception. These are located at the entrance of the hospital and in the some of the outpatient areas on the sites below.  

Simply follow the instructions displayed on the screen. You will be asked to enter your gender, date of birth and postcode. Then you will be asked to confirm that your details are correct by pressing the Yes or No buttons which are displayed next to each box. It will allow you to change your title, telephone and mobile details and ethnicity only.

All other changes will have to be updated by the receptionist as it is very important that we keep our records up to date. Once you have successfully checked in; your appointment details show and you will be directed to the relevant clinic area and asked to take a seat.

Self Check-In

Listed below are the outpatient clinics which you can self check-in for:-

Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital

Level 1

Fracture/Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, Cardiology.
Chest and General Outpatients.

Level 2

Oral surgery/Maxillo Facial, ENT and Paediatrics

Level 3


Burnley General Teaching Hospital

Fairhurst Building

Level 1, Area 4

Level 2, Area 4


Main Outpatients and Oral Surgery

Ophthalmology (from January 2020)

Level 0, Area 7 Orthopaedics, Cardiology and Dermatology
Level 1, Area 6 Paediatrics
Level 1, Area 5 Gynaecology
Level 3, Area 3 Primrose Suite (Breast Clinic)

Rossendale Primary Health Care Centre

Level 1 Various outpatient clinics and Endoscopy day cases

Please be aware there are certain clinics that are not on the system and therefore you will not be able to self check-in for these. Signs will be visible in reception displaying these clinics. If you require any assistance please do not hesitate to ask the receptionist. This service is optional if you would rather speak to a receptionist.

Waiting Times

Whilst every effort is made to ensure that you are seen as near as possible to your appointment time, it is not always possible to guarantee this exact time as the time the doctor takes to examine each patient may vary. There are also factors that influence waiting times, e.g. the doctor may be called away to an emergency on the ward or in the operating theatre. You will be kept informed by the staff of any delays and will be seen as.

If you are anxious about having to wait, please mention this to a nurse or receptionist.
Patients are seen in appointment time order not in the order in which they arrive. Please report to reception no more than 10 minutes prior to your appointment time.


A consultation is an appointment with the doctor where you will be examined and then have a discussion about the treatment required, advised or indeed explaining your options.

The consultation may not be with the consultant named on your appointment letter or card however you will be seen by an appropriate member of the team. Nursing staff may also be present during your consultation. 

It is sometimes useful to write down any questions you may wish to ask the doctor before you attend the clinic, as it is easy to forget once you are in an unfamiliar and perhaps anxious situation.

In some cases there may be a need for additional tests which could lengthen the time you spend in the clinic, such as an eye test, urine test, x-ray or blood test.

Facilities for patients, visitors and staff

To find out what additional facilities are available at the site you will be attending please click on the relevant location:

When you leave

Admission to hospital

If the doctor decides that you need to be admitted to hospital, they will inform you of this and your name will be put on the waiting list. You will then be contacted in due course about your admission or in some instances an admission date may be discussed with you during consultation.

Before leaving the department

If you need to attend the clinic again for a follow up consultation or procedure, you will be given an appointment slip to take to the reception.  Please check with the nursing staff if you have any questions.

Failure to Attend

If, for any reason you are unable to keep your appointment, please inform the hospital as soon as possible. The telephone number is on your letter/appointment card. There is an answerphone available out of office hours.  Doing this means fewer wasted appointments and will help us to keep waiting times to a minimum.