Current waiting times in days

Patients who are referred to us for treatment can be seen at a first appointment in just a matter of days from referral. 

Our waiting times to first appointment are:

Foot and ankle, 7 days

Hand and wrist, 14 days

Hip, 7 days

Knee, 7 days

Shoulder and elbow, 8 days

Lower gastrointestinal endoscopy, 11 days (outpatient department)

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, 3 days

Colorectal endoscopy, 11 days

Hernia, 9 days

We have been able to choose where we receive NHS treatment since 2006, yet many people still do not realise that they have this right. When the decision is made that treatment is required, GPs and other referring clinicians or local referral management organisations should offer each patient a choice of four or five options in the immediate area – although theoretically patients in England can choose to have treatment at any NHS hospital, treatment centre, clinic or care centre in the country.

Here are our seven top tips for choosing where you receive your care:

1. If your GP (or optician for cataract surgery, or dentist for oral surgery) refers you for treatment you have the legal right to choose where (and, where possible, when) you receive that care

2. The choice offered to you may include NHS treatment centres run by independent organisations or private hospitals, but this is fine – they often provide services to the NHS and the costs are the same (and sometimes cheaper) than those of a traditional NHS hospital

3. You can also choose the people who will treat you, as long as they and their team provide the treatment you need

4. You can book your appointment via the NHS e-Referral service or local NHS referral service where there is one. This can be booked at your GP surgery or later online using the list of choices in your appointment request letter. This list is compiled by your GP, so it is important to let them know of any preferences you may have during your appointment with them

5. If you are already on a waiting list and you are waiting for longer than the maximum waiting time associated with your treatment, you have the legal right to be moved to another hospital’s shorter waiting list. Your hospital or Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will investigate why you are waiting longer than you should, and they must offer you a range of alternatives.

6. If you feel you have not been offered a suitable choice, you should first discuss this with the GP or other health professional who is referring you. If you are not satisfied with their response you can complain to your CCG, which is duty bound to offer you a choice. If your CCG cannot resolve the issue you are entitled to take your complaint to the Independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

7. If a hospital or treatment centre you would like to be treated at has not been offered as part of your choice, you can ask your GP to add it to the list; it is your right to choose any service in the country provided you meet their treatment criteria

The ethos of patient choice is embedded in the NHS. NHS England believes that by 2020 every NHS patient will be able to say that they have discussed the options available with their GP or other referring healthcare professional; that they have been offered suitable choice; that they were able to choose another care provider if they had been waiting too long; that information was readily available and in accessible formats, and; they were given time to make the choice best for them.