New national patient choice programme

This week, all NHS patients waiting over 40 weeks for elective care, and who do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, will be contacted by their hospital and given the opportunity to travel to a different hospital if it means they could be seen sooner.

As announced by the NHS and Government, this forms part of an NHS elective recovery plan. Offers will be sent to up to 400,000 eligible patients across the country who will then be able to submit their details including how far they are willing to travel – 50 miles, 100 miles or nationally. NHS teams can then identify whether any alternative hospitals have capacity to see them sooner. And, in some instances, the patient’s request will be uploaded to the NHS’ innovative hospital matching platform – the Digital Mutual Aid System - to see if NHS or independent sector providers elsewhere in the country can take on their care.

Patients who are eligible, and have been waiting for care at one of our hospitals will be contacted by either text message or postal letter

If you are eligible and we have an up-to-date mobile phone number for you, we will send you a text message with further details. If we do not have an up-to-date mobile number you will receive a postal letter.

The text message or postal letter will include a link to a dedicated web page, where you can submit your request. There is also a telephone number for those who cannot access the online web page.

When you submit a request, you will need to confirm the service you require care from, and you will need to specify how far you would been willing to travel.

If you receive a text message or a letter from us, but you would prefer to continue to wait for care at one of hospitals, that is absolutely fine. You will remain on our waiting list, and we will see you as soon as we can.

What will happen if you submit a request?

If you choose to submit a request, we will review to ensure it is clinically suitable to move your care, and to check if we have recently booked an appointment/treatment or surgery for you. Once confirmed, the north west London Integrated Healthcare Board (ICB) will try to identify another hospital that can see you more quickly – within your preferred travel limit.

You will be contacted to confirm whether another hospital is able to see you. You will not be removed from our waiting list until we have confirmation that your care (the full pathway) has been moved to another provider. While your request is being processed, we will continue to work to make an appointment for you at our Trust.

If no alternative hospital, agreed with you, is found within eight weeks of starting the process, you will remain with on our waiting list and you will keep your position on the waiting list.

Some patients will not be eligible if their clinical condition is too complex.

We want to apologise to patients who are waiting for care at our hospitals

We would like to apologise to all our patients who have experienced a delay in care. We are working hard to improve waiting times for people and aim to see people in order of priority and who have been waiting the longest.

The NHS is working hard to recover waiting times

Despite significant pressure and ongoing industrial action, the NHS is making progress in reducing the longest waits and is continuing to recover elective services, with over 87,000 more people across the country treated in August than the same month before the pandemic. The progress is thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and thanks to innovations including surgical hubs, community diagnostic centres, and the use of robots and AI to speed up surgery and other treatments.