COVID-19 - FAQ: Outpatient appointment changes
An important role of Queensland Health is to do everything possible to contain the spread of COVID-19 within our communities. Queensland Health is committed to ensuring our hospitals are well equipped to respond to an increase in demand on our Hospital and Health Services because of the COVID-19 outbreak and to ensuring the most time-sensitive and medically necessary care, whether COVID-19 related or not, can be delivered.
As Hospital and Health Services deal with this unprecedented situation, some services will be impacted.
This includes outpatient clinics. Affected patients may have received a notification to advise that their appointment:
- has been moved
- has been changed to a telephone or telehealth appointment
- has been cancelled and postponed
- remains unchanged
The below advice aims to provide information in response to questions about why and how appointments have changed in response to COVID-19.
Why has my outpatient appointment been changed?
Decisions regarding changes to outpatient appointments are based on (but are not limited to):
Why has my appointment been changed to a phone or telehealth appointment?
If you have received notification that your appointment has changed to a phone or telehealth appointment, it’s because your clinical team is confident they can provide you with the care you need without physical contact. This is important to protect both yourself and staff to minimise the unnecessary risk of exposure to COVID-19.
My appointment has been changed to a telehealth appointment. What is telehealth?
The Queensland Health Telehealth Portal provides an easy, safe and secure way to videoconference (VC) with your doctor or health professional from within a web browser on your personal computer (PC), laptop or Mac; or through an app on your tablet or smart phone.
If you have received a notice that your appointment has changed to a telehealth appointment, you will be contacted with further information and support on how to set up telehealth on your personal device.
Your appointment will still be conducted by a clinician from your treating team. Depending on your situation, your clinical team may include a specialist doctor, a medical registrar, a specialist nurse or an allied health clinician such as a pharmacist.
Telehealth allows you to see, hear and speak to your treating. clinical team from the comfort of your own home.
To find out more about telehealth, search for ‘Telehealth Queensland’ on Google.
My appointment was cancelled. Will I get another appointment?
Yes, you will be offered another appointment as soon as we are able to provide you with a new appointment date and time. You will remain on the outpatient appointment list and will not lose your position on the waiting list.
While responding to COVID-19, clinical teams are triaging patients to ensure the most urgent patients are seen first.
Please continue to monitor your condition with your General Practitioner (GP). If your condition is too serious to wait, you should present to the closest emergency department or call 000.
My appointment was cancelled but my condition is worsening. What do I do?
Contact your GP to discuss your care and to provide you with advice on how to manage your condition. If required, your GP may request the hospital book an urgent appointment for you.
If your condition is too serious to wait or is an emergency, call 000 and ask for an ambulance or attend your closest hospital emergency department.
I received a message that I am still required to attend my upcoming appointment, but I am sick or in self-isolation or quarantine, or awaiting a COVID-19 test result. What should I do?
To ensure the health and wellbeing of all patients and staff, if you are currently
You must let the hospital know as soon as possible for Bundaberg Hospital 4303 8222 and 41841581 Hervey Bay Hospital, so they can notify your treating team and arrange another date for your appointment.
I have heard that outpatient appointments are being postponed but my appointment is still proceeding why was it not cancelled?
Your clinical team has requested that your outpatient appointment proceed because it is not clinically appropriate to delay your appointment. Our specialists are determining which outpatient appointments proceed and when, to ensure the safety of both patients and staff.
What do I need to know prior to coming to hospital for my appointment?
I would like to know more about COVID-19
To stay informed and up to date with current advice and requirements about COVID-19 you can.
Visit the Queensland Health website at www.health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus
Download the Check in Qld government app at:
Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.
If your health worsens or you have any further questions regarding your condition, please contact your General Practitioner. If your condition becomes an emergency, call 000 or present to your nearest emergency department.
From July 1, 2020, Category 3 specialist outpatient referrals that were previously returned to general practitioners can now be re-referred to the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.
From August 1, 2020, WBHHS started to accept new Category 3 specialist outpatient referrals.
These outpatient referrals were temporarily returned to general practitioners due to the national suspension of non-urgent elective surgery, as part of Australia’s COVID-19 response. This meant all Category 3 elective surgeries and some Category 2 elective surgeries were temporarily postponed, and Category 3 outpatient referrals could not be accepted.
For more information about specialist outpatient appointments or elective surgery, go to: