Patient and health professional speaking depicting the reduction in cancelled NHS appointments

Welsh Government announces new policy to tackle appointment cancellations and support patients

The Welsh Government has moved to tackle the spate of cancelled appointments as the health minister, Eluned Morgan, announces a new policy that will support patients waiting for treatment.

The idea behind the new policy is to ensure those waiting for treatment have easy access to information that can provide guidance to them as they wait for an appointment.

The 3Ps Waiting Well Policy includes three key strands:

  • Promoting healthy behaviours
  • Preventing deconditioning while waiting
  • Preparing for treatment and recovery

As part of the policy, those on waiting lists will get a single point of contact at their relevant health board who will do everything from listening to their concerns and advising on symptom management, to signposting extra resources and services.

The NHS will also help people get ready for treatment to give them the best possible outcomes – this will include things like exercise classes, whether that be remote or in-person.

While some organisations – like Hywel Dda University Health Board – are already providing such services, the Welsh Government is now ensuring NHS patients across the country will have also have access by next summer.

                                                                        Video credit: Canva

Health leaders hope the policy will scale back the 6,350 last-minute appointment cancellations that occurred between April 2022 and March 2023. This included:

  • 4,860 because the patient thought they were unfit for the procedure
  • 1,130 because the hospital said the patient was unfit for the procedure
  • 300 because the patient had a pre-existing medical condition
  • 60 because the patient was unsuitable for a day case procedure

Eluned Morgan said: “With the 3Ps policy, people will be empowered to take responsibility for their own health and well-being, with information and support available via a range of resources and formats to enable people to achieve a healthier lifestyle.”

She continued: “It will also empower people to better self-manage their condition whilst waiting, providing advice on pain management and what to do to if their symptoms deteriorate.”

Image credit: iStock

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NHE May/June 2024

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