Healthcare professional assessing patient waiting times and backlog

NHS launches new hospital matching platform to tackle patient waiting times

A new online ‘matching’ platform is set to cut waiting times and boost patient outcomes, NHS England has announced today.

The system, which was originally introduced in January for patients needing a hospital admission, will enable clinicians to view and add surgery slots for sites across the country – including the independent sector.

If a patient is willing to travel the country to get support, clinical teams can input that information into the platform so other providers can see it and act accordingly.

Branded by health leaders as a “key tool” in the fight against the Covid-19 backlog, the system will be expanded so it encompasses cancer, diagnostic checks, and outpatient appointments.

                                                                         Video credit: Canva

Alongside the travel, other important pieces of information such as condition severity, BMI and how long a patient has been waiting will also be recorded using the system so organisations can make the most informed decision possible.

If more than one provider puts themselves forward, patients can make their own decision and choose which option would be best for them.

Director of the NHS Confederation’s acute network, Rory Deighton, commented: “This is a sensible, innovative initiative that could see longer term benefits for the NHS and will be good for patients, potentially speeding up care for those willing and able to travel.

“However, some patients may be unable to travel as far and will prefer to wait slightly longer in order to attend their local hospital.

“But in the current environment it is important that we explore every opportunity we can, and this will help better match demand with very limited capacity, prioritising those patients who have been waiting the longest.”

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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