Reducing waiting lists for Ear, Nose and Throat

20 May 2024
NHS South East London

NHS organisations in south east London are working together to manage waiting lists and help patients to get an appointment and receive any treatment as quickly as possible.

To help reduce the waits for ear, nose and throat (ENT) patients, we are starting a new consultant-led community ENT service which will provide services across south east London. In the future, all referrals to ENT will be assessed by the community ENT service and patients who are clinically suitable will receive their care in the community.

This will help reduce the demand on our hospital services, and the backlog of patients currently waiting to be seen in hospital.

As we introduce this new service, hospitals will be calling patients who have been waiting for more than 30 weeks for their first appointment, to ask for their permission to send their details on to the community ENT service. The community service will assess whether they can treat the patient, or if their condition is too serious and they will need to be seen by the hospital team.

Providing these appointments in the community service means that waiting times will be shorter and enables hospitals to use the capacity they have in the best way.

If patients choose not to transfer, then they will stay on the hospital waiting list.