From Tuesday 31 October 2023, patients in England will have a greater choice over their care.
Patients who have been waiting 40 weeks or more for an inpatient or outpatient appointment will be contacted to advise them that they are eligible to register their interest in transferring their care to a trust with shorter waiting lists.
Every trust in the country will then offer the opportunity patients who have been waiting for 32 weeks, 26 weeks etc. with the aim of eventually offering the option to anyone who has waited for 18 weeks for an appointment.
The new patient choice system cannot guarantee a trust will have a shorter waiting list and all patients will have to be declared medically and socially fit.
How will I be contacted?
You will receive a letter or a text explaining you are now eligible and how to access the patient choice online portal.
What will the letter say?
Read an example letter
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 the NHS continues to recover from the covid pandemic, we are initially contacting all patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks and inviting them to be considered to move hospital to receive their care/treatment.
You have been identified as a patient who has been waiting over this period of time. Many patients may be deemed clinically appropriate to move provider however in some circumstances; it may not be possible to transfer your care if capacity is not found elsewhere.
However, should you proceed to transfer your care then your full treatment plan will be managed by that Hospital. This will include any aftercare that may be required such as, outpatient review, physiotherapy or specialist nurse appointments and diagnostic tests.
Should you wish to be considered to move hospital please submit your details via www.pidmas.nhs.uk . For those who do not have access to technology please contact the NHS Telephone Support Line on 0345 4506166.
Upon receiving your request this will be reviewed by your current hospital and the next step will be communicated to you.
What will the text message say?
Read an example text
Patients waiting over 40 weeks for their treatment may be eligible to move hospital to receive their treatment sooner. You are invited to consider this opportunity. Please use the link https://www.nth.nhs.uk/patients/ to access PIDMAS where you will find all the information you need.
Can I contact my consultant or GP to ask to be allowed access to the portal?
No. Each Trust is following government guidance to methodically offer the service to patients based on how long they have been waiting, starting with those who have been waiting the longest.
What happens once I register on the online portal?
You can set the parameters of how far you are willing to travel (within 50 miles, within 100 miles or nationwide) and the portal will alert you to any trust with a shorter waiting time.
Can I choose the hospital or trust?
No. Any offer is based on waiting list times.
Then what happens?
Behind the scenes, the patient’s clinical team at our trust and the relevant clinical teams at a trust with a shorter waiting time will liaise to assess the patient’s suitability to be transferred.
What if I am not deemed suitable for travel or there is no trust with a shorter waiting list?
We will continue to provide your care and will seek to arrange your appointment as quickly as possible. You can expect to be told of the decision within two/three weeks.
What happens if I am accepted?
In this case, you would be transferred to the care of a new trust. This would involve any pre-assessment appointments, your treatment/surgery and any follow-up appointments all taking place at the hospital you have been transferred to.
You can expect to be told of the decision within five/six weeks.
How do I travel to the new hospital?
That is up to each patient. There is an NHS travel reimbursement scheme which you make be eligible for but if not, any and all travel and accommodation costs must be covered by the patient.
What about my family – can they visit me if I have an overnight stay?
Yes, but they would be responsible for their own travel costs.
Why can’t I have my follow-up appointments with you?
The system does not allow for this. All follow up appointments (such as to remove surgical stitches or assess the effectiveness of the treatment etc) must take place with the trust who delivered the care. Patients should take this potential disruption and cost into account.
How long will the process take?
The patient will be told if a new provider has been found or not within five/six weeks of starting the process.
When will those under 18 be able to change provider?
We will be including patients under 18 in the future.
How can I find out more about my choices as a patient?
The NHS patient choice webpage has further details.