Worcester News Article – 25th February

Last week our Acute Hospital Trust found itself in the media spotlight again, despite all the good care patients tell us about, for cancelling operations and not rescheduling them within 28 days. We also know that the Trust has long waiting lists, beyond the maximum 18 weeks, for operations and procedures such as hip and knee replacement surgery which are not urgent. Therefore, I thought it would be timely to remind patients about the NHS Choices Framework in which you can find out when you have choices about your health care, where to get more information to help you choose and how to complain if you are not offered a choice.
If your GP refers you as an outpatient to see a consultant or specialist you may choose the organisation that provides you NHS care and treatment so long as it has been appointed by the NHS to provide the service you require. You may chose whenever you are referred for the first time for an appointment for a mental health or physical condition, other than suspected cancer. Your GP should help you to make your choice which should include providing you information about waiting times.
You can also ask to change hospitals if you have to wait longer than the maximum waiting times which are 18 weeks, or 2 weeks to see a specialist for cancer. If you want to change hospital you are advised to contact the hospital providing your treatment or the Clinical Commissioning Group [CCG]. The CCG must provide advice or assistance to patients who have waited or will wait longer than 18 weeks for consultant-led treatment.
For more information about your right to Chose and Book NHS services visit our website www.healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk or contact the Healthwatch Team on 01386 550264. To share your experience of the NHS ‘Choose and Book’ service with us in confidence, or of any other health or social care service, please telephone the Healthwatch team or email info@healthwatchworcestershire.co.uk