From October 31, patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks for treatment and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, could be eligible to request to move to a different hospital to be treated sooner.
Those eligible will receive a text message, letter or email which will contain a weblink and telephone number to submit a request to explore their options.
Once a patient has submitted their details, including how far they are willing to travel, this will be reviewed by the hospital they are currently under the care of. If a patient is deemed clinically and socially appropriate to move the process will take place.
If a patient opts to request to move (options are 50 miles, 100 miles or nationally) it is the role of the ICB to try and identify an appropriate alternative hospital. There may be circumstances in which it is not clinically appropriate to move to a different hospital or alternative capacity is not available.
If there is no capacity available locally (within 50 or 100 miles) and a patient is willing to travel nationally, the details will be uploaded to the digital mutual aid system (PIDMAS) and other hospitals will be able to offer to treat the patient if appropriate.
If an alternative provider is identified the patient is contacted and asked if they would like to proceed. If an alternative hospital isn’t found the patient will remain with their current provider and they will receive an appointment as soon as one becomes available.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: I have received a letter/text message from the hospital asking if I want to consider moving hospital… is the message a scam/spam etc?
R1: The text/letter is genuine. As part of our efforts to tackle waiting lists we are working with hospitals across the region and nationally to see if we can find suitable alternative providers to support their treatment. If you are willing to travel outside of your local area for your treatment and would like to be considered, then please follow the instructions in the letter/text?
Q2: I have tried following the instructions in the letter/text, but I can’t get the webpage/URL to work. Can you help me?
R2: As this is a national system the system isn’t controlled/managed by the hospital. I suggest that you phone the 0345 4506166 in the instructions, and there will be a team that can help you enter your details/make the request on your behalf.
Q3: I have logged on to the system, but I can’t find my hospital name and/or I don’t know my speciality. Can you help me?
R3: Please confirm the name of hospital/speciality in which they are being treated. If patient still cannot find the details on the drop-down options. Advise them to phone the national helpline number 0345 4506166 where support will be able available to input their details on their behalf.
Q4: I have tried phoning the main helpline number in the letter/text, but nobody is answering. Can you help me?
R4: Advice for receiving person. If all call agents on the helpline are busy. The patient goes into a holding queue with clear messaging that they will be answered by the next available call handler. So, advise the patient that they need to redial the phone number at different times and hopefully they will get through.
Q5: My friend/relative has received an invitation to move hospitals. Why haven’t I?
R5: The process/system around offering patients the opportunity to move elsewhere for treatment is being done in a phased way to try and support those patients who have been waiting longer. first. Eventually the system will be expanded to include all patients who have been waiting over 18 weeks for their treatment, but this will be done in a gradual way over the course of next year.
Q6: Why can’t I choose a specific hospital?
R6: Unfortunately, with the current pressures and demands on NHS services it’s not possible for patients to select a specific hospital. Instead, we are asking you to identify the distance that you may be prepared to travel. We will then work at a regional and national level to identify if there are any hospitals where you could be treated more quickly.
Q7: If I do move to another hospital – will transport be provided?
R7: If you are medically eligible then transport may be available. If not, you will be expected to make your own arrangements, but you may be able to claim a refund of some of the costs using the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (exclusions apply)
Q8: Who will pay for my transport if I have to travel?
R8: You can use the Healthcare Travel Costs scheme to see if you are eligible to claim some of your travel costs.
Q9: What are the visiting hours for the new hospital? What are the parking charges for the new hospital? Do you know how long I will be in hospital?
Q9: All details about the opening hours and parking charges can be found on the hospitals website or by contacting them directly.
Q10: I have submitted a request on the system – how long will it be before I hear back?
R10: As your request progresses through the system – you will get automated messages (every 1-2 week) giving you an update on progress or advising if an alternative hospital has or has not been found. In total the whole process should take around 40 days. So, if you have not heard anything after 2 months, please contact us again after this time.
Q11: If I am offered to transfer my care to the Independent Sector Provider (private provider) will I have to pay for my care? I believe these are private hospitals.
R11: Independent Sector Providers support the NHS with certain specialties. If an ISP has been identified for you to receive your care, this will be funded by the NHS just the same as if you were going into an Acute Hospital. You will receive the same level of care including any physiotherapy needs or occupational health assessments.