People who are still on NHS waiting list are being asked whether they would be prepared to travel for treatment in the coming weeks as the Government continues to tackle record queues for treatment
NHS teams are pulling out all the stops to match them with a different hospital, with travel and accommodation costs available for patients where appropriate.
Well over 400 patients have already said they would be prepared to travel, of which around 140 have been booked in to get their surgery at a different hospital.
The NHS set out ambitions to eliminate two-year waits by the end of July except for those patients who choose to wait longer or patients in highly specialised areas that may require a tailored plan.
NHS staff continue to make progress on COVID-19 backlogs despite the latest monthly figures showing that it was the busiest May for emergency care with 2.2 million A&E attendances and almost 78,000 of the most urgent ambulance call outs.
From weekend clinics to dedicated surgery hubs and ensuring treatment transfers can happen, NHS staff are doing everything possible to bring down long waits for treatment for patients.
Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of the NHS said: “As happened around the world, COVID backlogs inevitably built up as hospitals here treated more than 750,000 people with the virus as well as caring for many more in the community.
“Millions who did not seek help earlier in the pandemic are now coming forward, but thanks to the hard work of NHS staff we have made big progress on the longest waits despite Omicron and a difficult winter.
“As part of the biggest and most ambitious catch up programme in NHS history, staff are now on track to virtually eliminate two-year waiters by the end of July.
“But the NHS will not stop here, from delivering one million tests and checks through our newly rolled out community diagnostic centres to new state of the art same day hip replacements, staff are constantly looked for new and innovative ways to treat patients quicker, especially those who have been waiting a long time.
“One of the benefits of the NHS is that hospitals can work together to bring COVID backlogs down together and so if people can and want to be treated quicker elsewhere in the country, NHS staff are ensuring that it can happen.
“Once again NHS staff are demonstrating the agility, resilience and compassion that shows when they are given the tools and resources they need, they deliver for our patients”.
While not everyone on the waiting list will want to travel further afield, already many patients around the country are taking up the option to be seen quicker.