Waiting for your appointment

A healthcare professional speaking to a patient in front of a computer

Pressures following the Covid-19 pandemic have meant that some operations and procedures have postponed or delayed.  While we’re working hard to make sure patients get the treatment they need, as quickly as possible, some patients may face longer wait times.  

If you're waiting for an appointment or procedure, please be reassured that we have not forgotten about you and we will be in touch as soon as we can. 

Giving you the choice to be seen elsewhere

Patient Initiated Requests to Move Provider (PIDMAS)

In England NHS patients have the right to request to move to a different hospital to receive their care/treatment if they have been waiting longer than 18 weeks.

As part of the national drive to reduce elective waiting lists, we are initially 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).  

If you are eligible, you will be contacted directly by text or letter. Please do not contact your GP practice or NHS hospital proactively regarding this offer.  

You will be provided with more information regarding the process when you are invited to consider options.  

Mutual Aid

To help with waiting lists, we are working together with North East London (NEL) NHS hospitals to offer treatment to every patient who is on a waiting list in the quickest possible way. 

One way in which we’re making this happen is by each hospital offering access to their specialist doctors for some services, to patients waiting on any hospital list in NEL. You can find out more by reading the mutual aid leaflet below. 

Getting faster treatment at a different hospital[pdf] 35KB 

Do you still need your appointment?

No longer need your procedure or appointment? 

If you no longer require your appointment or procedure, either because you have received treatment elsewhere or because your situation has improved, please let your clinical team know as soon as possible. You can also find out more about managing your appointment here.

Have you recieved a text message? 

A review of all patients on our waiting list for an appointment is currently underway as part of a national initiative by NHS England.

This means that we will be sending some patients a text message. The message will contain a unique link and pin which will take you to a form where you can let us know if you would like to remain on the waiting list or not.

If you say you still want treatment, you will remain on the waiting list and we will contact you in due course to arrange an appointment. If you tell us that you don’t need your appointment, you will be removed from the waiting list and discharged. 

If you don’t respond to the text or do not receive a text message, you will also be contacted by letter. The letter will ask you to:

  • Fill in the online form using a QR code
  • Email our team or call our call centre voicemail to leave your details and your decision about whether you wish to remain on our waiting list. 

When leaving your details, please ensure you include your NHS number, episode ID number and the department (all this information is included in your letter). 

We ask that you respond to the letter within 21 days. If you do not respond, your information will be reviewed by our clinical teams who may decide to discharge you back to the care of your GP.

By reviewing our waiting list and gathering this information, we can ensure that we understand the requirements of our patients whilst also prioritising care for our most clinically-urgent patients.

Furthermore, if you are on more than one waiting list you may receive a communication from us more than once. It is important that you check which waiting list the communication is referring to and respond to each one separately.

Staying well while you wait

We understand waiting for your appointment or procedure can be stressful. To help, here are some tips staying well while you wait:

  • Get active: When waiting for your treatment, try to increase your activity levels. Any activity that improves your strength and balance will be useful for your recovery. 
  • Stop smoking: If you are a smoker and are waiting for an operation or procedure, stopping smoking will reduce the chance of complications during surgery and help you to recover quicker.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet: By doing this, you’ll get all the nutrients that support healing and fight off infection.
  • Drink less alcohol: Alcohol can slow down the healing process, so if you are drinking alcohol it is important not to drink more than the recommended limits.
  • Get psychological and emotional support: We appreciate that waiting can be really tough going. If you think professional support might be useful, your local Talking Therapies services offer a range of ways to help you.
  • Stay in control: If you have a long-term health condition such as asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure, now is the time to make sure they are well controlled.
  • Manage pain: Some medicines, such as ibuprofen, can be bought over the counter. However, to manage more severe or chronic pain, a doctor can prescribe higher-strength versions of these tablets.

For more advice, visit the Wait Well, Stay Well website


Access your health records

Patients Know Best (PKB) gives you secure access to your health record via an online portal.

Once you are signed up, you’ll be able to see your hospital appointment information. In the future, you will see more of your health record such as test results, scan reports and care plans.

All your data is stored securely. You can opt-out at any time and contact us if you have any questions about using the service.

It’s free for all our patients and easy-to-use. Simply log in to the website from your smartphone, tablet or computer. 

Find out about average wait times

Anyone waiting for a hospital appointment, operation or treatment, can now access the NHS My Planned Care platform. This explains the average wait times for each speciality, broken down by NHS trust. 

Please look at this website before contacting your GP or hospital clinician for an update about any procedures you are waiting for.