Patients get more choices, to help cut waiting times

A new NHS social media campaign will inform patients referred to consultants or other specialists about their right to choose where to be seen.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes will be able to view a series of explanatory messages and reminder posts, which will provide more details about the factors which patients can use to decide where to receive their care.

Alongside the public awareness campaign, GP practices have been provided with guidance to support them to offer patient choice, with training available on the use of IT systems to make referrals.

Patients can use the NHS App to find out more information about NHS providers, such as waiting times, and manage their hospital referrals.  Tens of millions of people use the NHS App each month to book and manage GP appointments and to order repeat prescriptions.

Felicity Cox, chief executive officer of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“We know many patients want to be given a choice as it can reduce their wait for NHS care.  But too often, patients are unaware that they have the right to choose a healthcare provider to deliver their NHS care, free at the point of use.

“Many patients will value the convenience of their nearest hospital, but for others it may be more important to be close to family or friends who can help with the recovery and rehabilitation process.  Some patients may be willing to travel a short distance for quicker treatment.  Whatever you prefer, you can choose whatever is best for you.

“By giving patients greater choice and more information about their care through the convenience of the NHS App, we can change the way people access treatment options while also building on the fantastic work already being done by NHS staff in bringing down the longest waits for care.

“I’m also excited to see more new ways for patients to use the NHS App to choose and progress their care, from the comfort of their own home.  It’s great to see this functionality and capability being rolled out.  Over 33 million people have downloaded the NHS App, so using this technology will really help modernise how we access healthcare, putting control into the hands of patients themselves.”


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