How do I get an appointment?
Children may be referred to our service following a diagnosis of a cleft lip or palate at a 20 week scan during pregnancy. Babies born with a cleft lip or palate usually attend a clinic at four to six weeks old.
We also accept direct speech and language referrals, orthodontic referrals and children's dental referrals.
Adult patients who have had previous cleft treatments may be referred back to our service by their GP, dentist or other healthcare professional.
A member of our outpatient team will be in touch to schedule the first appointment once the referral has been accepted.
Changing or cancelling your appointment
If you need to change or cancel your child’s appointment, please contact us by calling 020 7188 1321 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please tell us as soon as possible so we can offer the appointment to another patient and book you in at new time.
Before your appointment
You should bring your child's red book with you to all your appointments.
We also recommend that parents/carers of new babies bring spare feeds and usual feeding equipment as there may be some periods of waiting at your child's appointment.
During your appointment
At our general cleft clinics, your child will see a range of healthcare professionals all at once. Usually this can include a consultant surgeon, clinical nurse specialist, consultant orthodontist, speech and language therapist, consultant children's dentist and clinical psychologist. This can be daunting, but means that all of your child's assessments and notes can be done on the same day so you don't have to make multiple trips back to the hospital. It also means you will be able to ask any questions you have and get answers from the relevant professional right away. Find out more about some of the staff you might meet at the South Thames cleft service.
We may need to take photos and/or x-rays of your child's face but we will discuss this with you on the day.
Appointments usually last between 15-30 minutes and you may be seen in different clinic rooms by some of the healthcare professionals listed above. Please allow plenty of time for your appointment as there may be some periods of waiting.
As we are a teaching hospital, students and visitors may be observing the team carrying out training with us. We will always ask your permission for them to observe your appointment.
After your appointment
Following your first appointment, we will decide on a treatment plan and let you know what this is. If your child needs to have another outpatient appointment, our outpatient team will be in touch to book this with you.
We will send letters about the outcome of your appointment to you and any healthcare professionals involved in your child's care.
If we decide that your child needs to have an operation, we'll make a plan for when your child will be admitted to hospital. Your child will need to come to our pre-admission clinic before their operation. A clinical nurse specialist will stay in touch with you throughout your child's treatment.
We invite children back to our clinics to check on their progress at three, five, 10, 15 and 20 years of age. This is usually an all-day clinic where your child may see a speech and language therapist, clinical psychologist, clinical nurse specialist, medical photographer, orthodontist (if needed) and audiologist. There will then be a group review at the end to discuss the day and answer any questions you or your child may have.