Thousands of our patients have agreed to receive their treatment at other hospitals as we step up efforts to collaborate with our NHS partners to bring down waiting lists.
Barts Health is working closely with the two other acute trusts across north east London to pool resources so we can all meet the national target to ensure that no-one is waiting more than 15 months for treatment by next April.
Our joint efforts to maintain elective care are bearing fruit despite the impact of industrial action, which so far has forced us to cancel more than 25,000 outpatient appointments and over 2,000 operations.
For example, we recently transferred 297 patients to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) for their first outpatient appointment and expect a further 600 to follow.
Teams in respiratory medicine, gastroenterology and vascular care in particular are contacting more patients to offer this opportunity rather than wait longer on our list.
Another 200 gastroenterology patients are being transferred to an independent provider which supplies NHS services, and every week about 100 of our patients have general, urology or colorectal procedures at Homerton Healthcare.
Demand for hospital treatment is high and we have over 120,000 people waiting, double the number at BHRUT and more than ten times than those at Homerton.
As part of the NHS Further Faster programme, we recently sent text messages to check the status of thousands of our patients waiting more than 12 weeks.
With more than 11,000 responses received so far, we were able to take 811 people off the waiting list because they no longer required treatment, and discovered that 3,323 were willing to be seen by an alternative provider.
This initiative puts us in a good place to meet the new NHS pledge to allow some patients waiting more than 40 weeks to request a move to a different hospital.
Meanwhile more than 73,000 patients have signed up to the Patient Knows Best portal so they can access their health records online and track their appointments.
Rebecca Carlton, group chief operating officer, said: “We are actively engaging with those patients who are waiting a long time and finding that they are often prepared to be flexible about where they go for treatment.
“We are also getting better at managing industrial action by reducing the cancelation rate and avoiding re-booking into slots that subsequently might be cancelled.
“By sharing elective capacity with partners as well, we are on track to clear the backlog of people waiting 65 weeks and improve equity of access for all patients.”