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Information for patients waiting for an operation for 40 weeks or more

Posted on November 2nd, 2023

If you have been waiting for an operation or procedure for over 40 weeks (and do not have an appointment date in the next eight weeks), the hospital in charge of your care may contact you to ask if you want to request to move to another hospital. This could be another NHS hospital or an independent hospital (that would see you as an NHS patient), which may be able to see you sooner.

It is part of work by the NHS to provide greater choice for patients and to reduce waiting lists. If you think that you may be eligible to make an alternative choice of hospital, please wait for the hospital currently in charge of your care to get in contact with you; do not contact them directly. Hospitals are now starting to contact eligible patients by text or letter and are leading this work.

Please do not contact the GP practice as we will not be able to help.

This alternative choice of hospital for people waiting over 40 weeks is currently only for patients aged 18 and over. There are some patients who can’t be considered for a move to another hospital. This particularly applies to patients with a complex medical condition or who need very specialist care that needs to be provided in a particular hospital. It will only be possible to move your care if the local NHS can identify another hospital that has the capacity and can provide a shorter waiting time for the operation you need.

When the hospital contacts you, they will give you more information about the process and will be able to answer your questions to help you consider your options. As with any patient choice you will need to consider various factors such as location (including travel times to all appointments) and other factors such as quality of care.

If your care is moved to another hospital, this would include everything: your outpatient appointments, pre-operative assessments or checks, your operation, and any follow-up appointments until you are fully discharged.

You can find more information about Patient Choice on the NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB website HERE.