Patient initiated requests to move to an alternative provider
The NHS has been asked to set up a new system where patients who have waited a long time for planned hospital care or treatment can request to move provider.
Not all patients on the waiting list will be eligible for this new system. At end of October 2023, hospitals will start to contact adults (age 18+) who have been waiting 40 weeks or more if they also meet the following criteria:
- They must be deemed clinically appropriate to move by a clinician, and,
- They do not have an admission date set for their treatment within the next 8 weeks, or,
- The do not an outpatient appointment arranged within the next 8 weeks.
Hospitals may contact patients via text message, letters, or emails. Patients will be invited to ‘opt in’ if they wish by giving their details and submitting a request to move to a different provider.
Any patient requests will be looked at by the local NHS to identify potential opportunities for treatment elsewhere and the patient will be contacted with an outcome.
It is important to note that ‘opting in’ will not necessarily guarantee a patient will be able to move to a different hospital to be seen sooner. This will very much depend on capacity at other hospitals, but all reasonable efforts will be made to source a solution for the patient if they want to move.
To support people to understand this new system we have developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which we hope is helpful.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
The waiting lists for planned hospital care and treatment are at an all-time high. In Greater Manchester we have approximately 550,000 people waiting for planned hospital care and treatment, which is approximately 1 in 6 people living in the region.
Hospitals across Greater Manchester, including the independent sector, are working hard to see and treat people as quickly as possible. Realistically, long waits for planned hospital care will be with us for some time.
As part of plans to tackle the waiting list backlogs, the Government has announced that patients aged 18+ who have been waiting a long time (40 weeks or more) will be given the opportunity to ‘opt in’ to move to a different provider. This could be an NHS provider or independent sector provider that is funded by the NHS.
It is hoped that where patients are willing and able to travel to alternative hospitals, this will help to tackle the overall waiting list backlogs. To find out what transport support is available to support people to get to health appointments, you can visit our dedicated transport page.
It should be noted however that ‘opting in’ will not necessarily guarantee patients will be able to move to a different hospital to be seen sooner, as this will very much depend on capacity at other hospitals.
By the end of October 2023, any patients aged 18+ who have been waiting 40 or more weeks for their hospital care or treatment will be contacted by their hospital. This will be patients who do not already have an admission date planned or an outpatient appointment planned within the next 8 weeks. Hospitals will contact patients via text, letter, or email.
Patients will be asked if they will consider moving hospitals if they can provide earlier care or treatment. They will be asked to email or ring a national telephone line to give their details.
We will continually be reviewing progress.
To be eligible for this opportunity now, you must the following criteria:
- Be aged over 18 years, and
- Have waited 40 weeks or more, and,
- Be deemed clinically appropriate to move by a clinician, and,
- Not have an admission date planned, or,
- Do not have an outpatient appointment scheduled within the next 8 weeks.
We would encourage patients to wait to hear from the hospital with an update. If you are not contacted by the hospital about this, it is likely that you do not meet the criteria.
We know that hospitals across Greater Manchester are extremely busy and taking many calls from patients about their place on the waiting list, so we would ask that you bear with them whilst they work through the lists and contact eligible patients.
This offer only relates to patients on a consultant led RTT elective pathway.
No, under 18’s are not eligible for this offer.
Where appropriate, clinical decisions will be made on whether the patient is suitable to be seen at an alternative provider for treatment. There are a number of factors that will need to be considered and this will therefore always be based on the individual’s circumstance and condition.
The hospital will contact you and ask you to send an email or ring a national telephone line to submit your details, if you do want the chance to move provider.
Those details will be shared back with your hospital to check first.
Your details will then be shared with a dedicated team within your local NHS services who will look at your request and speak to different hospitals, including independent sector hospitals funded by the NHS, to try and facilitate your requests for earlier care or treatment.
You will then be contacted by someone from the local NHS with the outcome.
It is important to note that whilst all reasonable efforts will be made to find an alternative hospital that can see or treat you sooner, this is not guaranteed. It will very much depend on other hospitals having capacity to see you.
As part of the process patients will agree to share their details.
In the majority of cases, the patient should be told if a new provider has been found or not within eight weeks of starting the process. If a patient is not clinically appropriate to move they should be told within three weeks.
If an alternative provider is not identified, the patient will be informed and will remain on the waiting list with their original provider.
Hospitals will only offer to take forward a patient’s care if they can see them within four weeks. They will not be prioritised over someone already on that hospital’s waiting list unless there is a clinical need.
No, patients can’t specify a hospital they would like to go to. They will only be given an option to choose if they are offered more than one hospital as part of the process.
Transport or help with travel costs, may be available to help you. Visit www.gmintegratedcare.org.uk/transport for information on:
- Planning a journey by public transport
- Information on help with travel costs
- Transport services available across Greater Manchester
- Community transport services available in different parts of Greater Manchester
No, the patient will be under the care of the chosen provider throughout their pathway of care until they are discharged. This includes any subsequent appointments.
This is clear on the homepage of the PIDMAS website.
If you do not want to take up the offer to potentially move provider that is okay. You do not need to do anything. You can ignore the text, letter, or email from your hospital about this. You will stay on the waiting list for your hospital, and they will get to you as soon as they can. Patients are being seen in clinical priority and wait order.
If you change your mind later, and providing you still meet the eligibility criteria, you can choose to ‘opt in’ and submit your details.
Once you say you want to chance to move provider, a dedicated team in the local NHS will get your details and will speak to different hospitals, including independent sector hospitals funded by the NHS, to try and facilitate your request.
You will then be contacted by the local NHS with the outcome.
It is important to note that whilst all reasonable efforts will be made to find you an alternative hospital that can provide your care or treatment earlier, this is not guaranteed. It will very much depend on other hospitals having capacity to see you. You will be told the outcome.
If it is not possible for you to move provider, you will stay on the waiting list in your hospital in the original place.
At the moment, patients who have waited 40 weeks or more and meet the eligibility criteria are being given the opportunity to say that they would like to move provider if this is possible. We will continually be reviewing progress.
The NHS trust or independent sector provider who is currently overseeing the patient’s care is responsible for contacting those eligible.
If the patient’s request progresses, it is the responsibility of NHS Greater Manchester to try and find an alternative hospital appropriate for the patient.
No. Some patients may respond immediately – others may take weeks to decide that they wish to opt in. There are no restrictions.
There will be no additional cost to the NHS or the patient if they decide to use an independent sector provider.
A telephone assistance line will be provided in any direct communication to eligible patients.
If your condition has improved or if you have already had your treatment somewhere else, please let the hospital know so that they can remove you from the waiting list. This will enable hospitals to use your slot for another patient.
If you have not heard from the hospital and your condition is getting worse, you need to contact your GP. Your GP surgery can provide care, so you should not put off getting any help you need.
We have created a resource to support patients, carers and families across Greater Manchester called While You Wait. www.whileyouwait.org.uk. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and information on how to look after your physical and mental wellbeing.
While You Wait has dedicated sections for people waiting for orthopaedic surgery, gastro investigations such as endoscopies and a section for children and young people.
Members of the d/Deaf community can also access our British Sign Language (BSL). www.whileyouwait.org.uk/BSL.
It is important to note that whilst all reasonable efforts will be made to find an alternative hospital for those who submit their details, this is not guaranteed. It will very much depend on other hospitals having capacity to see people sooner.
If you have submitted a request to move provider, but you are unhappy with the outcome, you can contact our patient advice and complaints services. You will find the relevant contact details under the “local area feedback and complaints” tab on our Contact Us page.
FAQs last updated 10/11/2023