Travelling to jump the clinic queues

PIDMAS - Giving patients a greater choice of hospital and clinic.

As previously reported by TotalHealth, if patients are prepared to travel it should be possible to cut months off the national waiting times.

Of over 6 million patients, over 700,000 are awaiting trauma and orthopaedic operations, nearly half a million women are waiting for gynaecological procedures and close to 300,000 patients are waiting due to heart conditions.

The Patient Initiated Digital Mutual Aid System (PIDMAS) has therefore been launched to help manage the rapidly expanding patient waiting lists. The initiative is national and offers patients a potential alternative choice of where to have treatment.

Patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks for treatment and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, could be eligible to request to move to a different hospital to be treated sooner. Those eligible will be contacted by the hospital they are under the care of and given a web link and telephone number to submit a request to explore their options.

Role of the local Integrated Care Board (ICB)

Once a patient has submitted their details, including how far they are willing to travel, this will be reviewed by the hospital they are currently under the care of. If a patient is deemed clinically and socially appropriate to move the process will then begin. If a patient opts to request to move (options are 50 miles, 100 miles or nationally) it is the role of the local Integrated Care Board (ICB) to make every effort to identify an appropriate alternative hospital.

Finding an alternative clinic

However, there may be circumstances in which it is not clinically appropriate to move to a different hospital or alternative capacity is not available. If there is no capacity available locally (within 50 or 100 miles) and a patient is willing to travel nationally, the details will be uploaded to the digital mutual aid system (PIDMAS) and other hospitals will be able to offer to treat the patient if appropriate. If an alternative provider is identified then a patient will be contacted and asked if they would like to proceed.

If an alternative hospital isn’t found the patient will remain with their current provider and they will receive an appointment as soon as one becomes available.

Eligible patients will be contacted directly by the NHS trust or independent sector provider they are currently under the care of. However, the NHS is requesting that patients should not contact their GP practice or NHS hospital proactively regarding this offer. Eligible patients will be provided with more information in regards to the process when they are invited to consider their options.

The Patient Initiated Digital Mutual Aid System is part of the NHS' work to help reduce elective waiting lists and provide greater patient choice.

The independent sector including NHS-approved clinical support companies like medcareworld are also extending their services into the community in order to provide greater capacity and choice for. patients.

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