Streamlining our waiting lists
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Keeping in Touch More
We are keeping in touch with our patients more, in particular with patients who have or who are waiting for an outpatient appointment or a procedure.
Keeping in touch helps patients to be reassured that they have not been forgotten and gives them the opportunity to let us know if, for some reason, they no longer need our care at this time. This might be because:
- They have moved home to another area;
- They have arranged private care;
- Their symptoms have resolved;
We keep in touch and provide the opportunity for patients to let us know if they no longer need us in three ways:
- By telephone when arranging appointments or procedures;
- By outpatient appointment where patients meet in person, virtually on video or by telephone with our clinical team;
- By text and response form;
Why is the hospital texting me about my treatment?
We are checking with all our patients that they still wish to remain on our waiting lists for a follow up appointment. We know that some patients are under the care of more than one hospital, or their condition may have improved, and they no longer need treatment. By making sure that our waiting lists are accurate, we can ensure that all our patients get the right treatment as quickly as possible. This is part of a national initiative to help lower the waiting time for patients who do need care from our specialist teams. We are starting by texting patients (where we have a mobile number). This may be followed up by a telephone call and by letter.
You may receive a text from us asking you to let us know if you still need our care. We will tell you which department we are contacting you about, for example, Dermatology. This is because some patients are being looked after by more than one team.
In that text, you will be asked to respond within 7 days. The text message asks you to answer a few simple questions that take no more than 5 minutes to answer.
You will be offered three options, YES, NO and UNSURE.
What happens if I answer ‘YES’?
If you answer ‘YES ‘ you wish to remain on the waiting list for an outpatient appointment or admission date ‘YES’ to keep an already booked appointment – there will be no changes to this. If you have not yet received an appointment or admission date, you will be contacted by the service as soon as they are able to offer you one.
What happens if I answer ‘NO’?
If you answer ‘NO’ that you no longer require treatment and wish to be removed from the waiting list, we ask that you provide us more details in the comments box. You will be discharged only after being clinically reviewed and we may call you to clarify your reason ensuring it is safe to discharge you from the service. If so, we will transfer your care back to your GP. If we do this, we will notify you and your GP of this by letter.
What happens if I answer ‘UNSURE’?
If you answer ‘UNSURE’ this means you are not sure whether you still require treatment or why you have an appointment booked with us. We ask you to enter any comments in the box and we will contact you to clarify whether or not your appointment is still required.
What happens if I do not respond?
If you do not respond, you will remain under our care. We will try to contact you several times, so if you do want to remain under our care it is easier for us if you reply with this response.
What should I do if I change my mind?
If you change your mind or your condition changes in the future and you wish to have treatment, you can contact your GP and ask to be re-referred.
Who can I contact to ask any questions?
If you have any questions about your care, please contact the administration team for the department that cares for you. This number will be on the last letter you received from us, or you can call our switchboard on 020 8672 1255. Contact details for most teams are also on our website.
If you need medical help urgently, please use 111 online or 111 telephone services, or attend your nearest emergency care centre.