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Expediting appointments or operation dates SHORTCUT ivy.gs/expedite

PLEASE NOTE

You have received a short text or phone message from us regarding your request for us to expedite your hospital appointment or operation date, but due to size limitations when sending text messages, you have been directed to this page for further information.

Dear Patient

Please be aware that hospitals are as busy as ever, dealing with urgent cases as well as prioritising cancer care. We urge all patients awaiting hospital appointments to be patient and wait to be contacted.

If your appointment is delayed and you desperately need an update, please ring the secretary of the hospital consultant that you are under directly for this information.

We do not have any special hotline numbers to the hospital and we are not notified in advance of any hospital appointments or operation dates you might have, therefore if you need this information, we urge you to get in touch with the hospital.

Indeed, due to hospital contract changes from April 2017, hospitals are now obliged to respond to any queries you might have about your care, in very much the same way the we as GPs respond to patients with queries about the care provided by ourselves. Accordingly, hospital matters should not fall to your GP to resolve.

WRITTEN REQUESTS TO EXPEDITE APPOINTMENTS

We are aware that patients are often told by the hospital to get a letter from the GP so that their appointment can be expedited.

Please be aware that simply waiting a longer time than you would wish does not make your request urgent. Unfortunately, in the current situation, everyone is waiting longer*. We cannot write letters to expedite your appointment for this reason.

If your condition is deteriorating, we do advise you to speak to your specialist so that they can assess if they need to see you sooner. We do find that an initial response might well be 'get a letter from your GP', however we are finding that we are merely reporting exactly what you have told us and it seems more sensible for patient and consultant to have a direct conversation. Should you continue to have difficulty in accessing your consultant, we advise that you contact the PALS department of the hospital for advice and assistance.

If the hospital is insistent on a letter, we may be able to write a letter for you, however getting a quicker appointment as a result is not always guaranteed, as we have no influence on how the hospital is managing and prioritising their own workloads.

*Official figures published January 2021 show that a total of 4.46 million people were waiting to start hospital treatment in England at the end of November 2020, the highest number since records began.

If you have an open appointment from the hospital, this usually lasts for 6 months from the date of your last outpatient appointment, unless otherwise specified. If you wish to take up the offer of a further appointment with the hospital, you can do so directly with the consultant's secretary - you do not have to go via your GP. Simply ring them up and ask to be reinstated.

Yours sincerely

Ivy Grove Surgery