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NHS Waits – What About Patient Choice

In a recent HSJ article, Dear Health Secretary – Here is what you should do about waiting times. Rob Findlay of Gooroo Ltd takes the typical technical approach to the problem of NHS Waiting Times.

The answer is very simple. Patient Choice. Entrenched attitudes within the NHS continue to push patients in to the ever lengthening queues at Acute Trusts. The NHS has the capacity commissioned in most areas of the country but much of it goes unused. GP’s and Referral Management Centres concentrate on doing what they have always done in the belief it is what patients want.

If you ask patients, “Would they prefer to go to their local hospital” they will say “yes”. Tell them about the choices they have in the context of their own busy lives, tell them the how cancelation and long waits will be their experience if they choose their local hospital.

Tell them that by selecting a provider which is not inundated with acute admissions and an impossible 18 week wait target, then you may get a different answer.

Yes there is a place for the technical queuing theory but a simple social conversation will enable patients to rebalance the waits and give acute trusts the time and space to gain control of their waiting times again. See our Resources page for real examples of how choice works for real people.