Local GP explains how NHS is tackling long waiting times

20 Jun 2023
NHS South East London

Lewisham GP Dr Rebecca Rowen joined other London doctors in two short NHS YouTube videos explaining innovations aimed at cutting waiting times for hospital appointments and treatment.

The videos explain how the NHS in London is acting to reduce the massive impact of the pandemic on waiting times.

In the first, Dr Rowen highlighted that patients might be offered NHS-funded surgery in a facility other than their local hospital and, in other cases, avoid a lengthy wait for a first appointment to see a consultant.

“It may mean that patients have their surgery somewhere near to them, like a surgical hub. Or they might receive specialist advice their GP has asked for (from a hospital specialist) instead of waiting to see a consultant in hospital.”

In the second video, Dr Rowen and other London GPs explain more about the ‘advice and refer’ system – in which GPs talk to consultants about patients’ symptoms and are able to either arrange treatment themselves or ensure all necessary tests are done quickly and patients are referred to the specialist.

The NHS is working as quickly and safely as possible to see as many patients as possible, prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need. To reduce these waiting times, the NHS needs to transform services by developing the most efficient and best value for money services. This will ensure the long waiting lists are greatly reduced.

While some patients will receive advice from their GP, patients who need to be seen by a specialist will still be referred. For many however, it should mean any anxiety about their symptoms can be addressed more quickly.

Where you or someone you care for has a complex condition with challenging symptoms causing considerable discomfort, access to specialist advice could mean your GP can help you start treatment before you see a specialist.

If your symptoms change or worsen while you’re waiting, contact NHS 111 or your GP for advice.