Waiting for an appointment, surgery or treatment
We would like to apologise to our patients who are waiting longer than usual for an appointment, surgery or treatment. We are working hard to see patients on our waiting lists as quickly and safely as possible.
Expected waiting times
We prioritise patients who have the most urgent clinical needs, and patients who have been waiting the longest.
All patients who are on an urgent treatment pathway, due to a possible cancer diagnosis will continue to be seen as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, for most cases, your GP will not be able to help you get seen quicker. Hospital appointments and waiting lists are managed by the relevant hospital department, and your GP would not have access.
You can view average waiting times for your appointment or treatment, and the date that you was referred to our hospital by downloading and signing into the NHS App. You can also view average waiting time information on the NHS My Planned Care website.
Contacting you to book an appointment, treatment or surgery
Surgery and treatment
We normally book surgery and treatment appointments at least three weeks in advance.
We will try to contact you by telephone so that we can discuss date options and explain what you need to do.
If we cannot reach you by phone, we will send you a letter by SMS text message, e-mail or post.
You will normally receive a letter by SMS text message for an outpatient appointment or a letter by post or email if you have not registered a mobile phone number with us.
The letter will include your appointment date and location as well as further details, for example what you should bring with you.
We do arrange ‘virtual’ outpatient appointments – via telephone or video – when appropriate.
Please also note that Outpatient appointments can be booked far in advance.
Sometimes we need to rearrange appointments, treatment or surgery
Unfortunately, from time to time we do need to rearrange appointments, treatment or surgery dates for various reasons.
if there is a junior doctors or nurses strike, we may have to change staffing in certain areas of our hospitals and we may need to close some clinics, to ensure everyone is kept safe.
sometimes we have a high number of very urgent cases, which means we rearrange appointments for people who do not need urgent care or treatment.
sometimes staff are absent due to illness. It can take a short time to make alternative staffing arrangements.
We would like to apologise to anyone who has recently received a letter to rearrange their care, this must be frustrating, especially if you have already been waiting for some time. We will always endeavour to rebook your appointment, treatment or procedure at the earliest opportunity.
Why are patients waiting longer?
During the pandemic, many NHS appointments, planned surgery and treatments were suspended to allow NHS staff to focus on caring for people with Covid-19 and other urgent and emergency conditions.
This led to a build-up of appointments and procedures, and subsequently longer waiting times for many people needing care.
Our hospital is working hard to improve our waiting times, but we continue to face challenges, including high demand for our services, which can worsen in the winter months.
How can patients support us to improve our waiting times
- We are starting to communicate regularly with patients to reassure them that they are still on our waiting list and to check whether they still need an appointment, treatment or surgery.
Please read more on what to do if you receive a message from us.
- We are asking patients to tell us if they need to cancel or rearrange an appointment, treatment or surgery, to ensure we can work as efficiently as possible, and to reduce the number of people who do not attend their appointments.
If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call the number on your appointment letter or email us as soon as you can in advance, so we can reschedule your appointment or treatment and offer this date and time to someone else.
- We are providing more information to patients on how to find our hospitals, and how to get support with travel costs, to reduce the number of people who do not attend their appointments.
Please visit the getting to your appointment page to find out more about how you can get to the hospital, including information on patient transport service, help with travel costs, and TFL transport schemes.
If you find it hard to walk or if you need medical support during your journey, you may be eligible for our non-emergency transport service.
If you are on low income or receive benefits, you may be eligible for help with the cost of travelling to and from your appointments. Please visit the help with travel costs page to find out more about eligibility and how to claim.
If you have a concern
Please contact us if you have a concern or a complaint - we would like to hear from you so we can help.
London elective access policy
Please read the north west London elective access policy, if you would like more information on the roles, responsibilities, pathway and process guidelines to manage elective waiting times to ensure patients are treated promptly, efficiently and equitably.
About this page
- Last updated
- Author Nadine Silverside