Community Health Champions | Tel: 01782 683030 | [email protected]
If you have been waiting over 40 weeks for a hospital appointment, and do not have an appointment in the next 8 weeks, you could be invited to travel to a different hospital for treatment.

As part of the drive to reduce elective waiting lists, NHS trusts are now proactively contacting patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks, and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, to consider their options to see if they could be seen sooner at a different hospital (some clinical exclusions apply).

Eligible patients will be contacted directly by the NHS trust or independent sector provider they are currently under the care of.

Please do not contact your GP practice or NHS hospital proactively regarding this offer. Eligible patients will be provided with more information in regards to the process when they are invited to consider their options.

You can read more here. Please see below for a number of FAQ.

What happens to the patient if a provider with a shorter waiting time can’t be found?
If an alternative provider is not identified, the patient will be informed and will remain with their current provider.
Who is responsible for informing the patient they could be eligible to switch provider?
The NHS trust or independent sector provider who is currently overseeing the patient’s care is responsible for contacting those eligible. If the patient’s request progresses, it is the responsibility of the ICB to try and find an alternative hospital appropriate for the patient.
What happens to a patient’s position in the original waiting list if they decide to explore their options?
The patient’s position on their current waiting list will not be impacted if a new provider isn’t identified.

When will other patients on the waiting list be offered an opportunity to switch provider?

Phase one is for patients waiting over 40 weeks. Further phases will occur at a later date.

Can all patients waiting for treatment over 40 weeks change their provider?
Not all patients waiting over 40 weeks will be invited to request to move provider. Patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks and have an appointment date within the next 8 weeks will be excluded from the process on the basis that it will be quicker for them to remain with their current provider than move to an alternative provider. In addition, there may be some patients whose clinical condition means that it would not be appropriate tomove provider. This is particularly relevant to patients whose condition is clinically complex.

How will patients’ details be shared with other providers?
Patients are invited to submit their details into the national digital solution (PIDMAS) and select the hospital they are currently under the care of. The patient details will be sent to the hospital for them to be reviewed and then shared with the ICB if the patient is appropriate to move provider.
How long will the process take? The patient will be told if a new provider has been found or not within five to six weeks of starting the process. If a patient is not clinically appropriate to move it is expected they will be told with two to three weeks.
When will those under 18 be able to change provider?
Those under 18 will be included at a later date.
If a patient who has been waiting over 40 weeks chooses to go to a different provider will they be entitled to expenses for travel and accommodation?
There is the existing NHS Travel Reimbursement Scheme which can be utilised. Each individual will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
After the first outpatient appointment is a patient transferred back to their local NHS trust?
No, the patient will be under the care of the chosen provider throughout their pathway of care until they are discharged. This includes any subsequent appointments.
When a patient receives the communication is there a time limit for them to respond in?
No. Some patients may respond immediately, others may take weeks to decide that they wish to opt in. There are no restrictions.
If a patient chooses an independent sector provider will there be an additional cost?
There will be no additional cost to the NHS or the patient if they decide to use an independent sector provider.
How will those patients who are not digitally enabled be supported?
A telephone assistance line will be provided in any direct communication to eligible patients.
Can’t patients already change provider if they’ve been waiting over 18 weeks for treatment?
If a patient has been waiting over 18 weeks, they have the right to request to move provider. If a patient has been waiting over 26 weeks, it is the responsibility of the ICB to make every effort to identify an alternative provider to enable the patient to receive earlier treatment. This announcement relates to patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks, and meet the eligibility criteria, as they will now be contacted proactively and asked if they would like to move provider if one with a shorter waiting time can be found.