Tips from a reader on cutting waiting times

Henry has some tips on NHS clinic/Outpatient appointments…………

Henry sends me these useful tips, saying he hopes these will help when negotiating the NHS appointments system.
  1. As soon as your Doctor makes the referral, be sure to ask for the name of the consultant and in which clinic- ask your GP if they know likely waiting times.  
  2. If it is a long time, ask if you can be seen somewhere with a shorter waiting time  i.e.if there is another convenient hospital

  3. Allow a week or so, before contacting the hospital admissions and asking when you can expect to hear from them and what is expected turnaround for an appointment date…………on a number of occasions, at this point, I have been offered a slot on the telephone- so just by calling them, you can get bumped up in the queue
  4. Ask if there is a waiting list for the the clinic and say that you are flexible for dates
  5. Ask when is the best time of the week to phone for the most likely news of an appointment slot becoming available due to other patients cancelling
  6. When you leave an appointment and if you need a follow up, check with the clinic  reception when you can expect to hear from them and likely turnaround for appointments/tests. This is also an opportunity to get a direct number and a name for the clinic reception should you need to check appointment dates at a later point

  7. On a few occasions I have booked to see a consultant privately, in advance of a scheduled NHS appointment with the same consultant- this way, rather than waiting a number of months to see them for the first time, to be assessed and then be told that you have to wait a number of months for tests, the test, on the NHS, can be requested after the private visit and then the original NHS appointment date simply becomes the follow up date for the test results- I have saved a number of months needless waiting this way……………
  8. Today, most hospitals don’t bother with keeping a waiting list, instead they expect the patient to keep on and on phoning.  So if you keep the appointments booking number on speed dial, you can phone whenever you have a spare minute, and it is surprising how often a slot becomes available.


1 Comment

  1. Jo T

    Henry has put it much more nicely:

    But in a nutshell:

    Pester and put them on the spot?

    View Comment

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