Supporting patients and NHS recovery - COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand has disrupted our services, but we are now starting to see and treat patients with less urgent, but important healthcare needs
Waiting for your hospital care
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on our patients, staff and local communities and disrupted the way many NHS services have operated. We are very sorry that too many people have had to wait a long time and we are working hard to resume services and keep patients safe, at the same time as continuing to treat people with COVID-19.
We are doing our utmost to ensure you get the treatment you require as soon as possible. We are now reviewing patients who have been waiting a long time, to understand their current position and treatment wishes, and to help us prioritise those in most urgent need.
How did COVID-19 impact hospital services?
As a result of the pandemic, we had to make changes to a wide range of services to keep patients and staff safe. However, these changes meant we were able to continue treating many patients throughout the pandemic, as our teams made best use of the county’s two large hospitals and continued to treat patients who needed to be seen, such as those with cancer or in need of urgent surgery.
More than 95% of patients with suspected cancer have been seen within two weeks of their referral throughout the last 12 months and despite the pandemic, this has meant that Gloucestershire has had one of the best performances nationally against cancer targets.
Restoring our services and waiting times
Patients are prioritised based on their clinical needs, which means that those who require urgent treatment are seen sooner. Thankfully, we are now increasingly able to see patients with less urgent, but important healthcare needs.
We are now regularly communicating with all patients who are waiting for planned operations to inform them of their current estimated waiting time. We will also be updating this web page with frequently asked questions to support patients.
As well as restoring services, we are introducing a range of other measures to enable us to see as many patients as possible, which include:
- Running extra outpatient clinics and theatre lists at the weekends and into the evening
- Using facilities at our local private hospitals for the treatment of NHS patients, some of whom have been waiting the longest
- Where appropriate to the individual’s needs, telephone and video conferencing continues to offer an alternative to ‘in-person’ face-to-face appointments and the need to travel to hospital appointments. It has been positively received by many patients and we continue to seek feedback on this service.
We know that many patients continue to wait considerably longer than any of us would like and we want to be open and honest about that.
Due to current pressures, we are politely asking people not to call their GP surgery with general enquiries about waiting times.
Keeping you and your family informed
We know how important it is to our patients that they understand what is happening, even if we can’t give them a precise date for their appointment or treatment
- We have established dedicated teams to ensure that regular communication with anyone waiting for care is at the heart of our approach to recovery
- NHS services know about individual referrals and will contact people as soon as possible with an update on their appointment or treatment
- We are providing expert advice on prevention and self-care to support people in managing their conditions – either direct to patients or through their NHS services
Despite our best efforts, as a result of the pandemic and increased demand on some services, we estimate that it may take 18 months to 2 years to get back to where we were and we understand how difficult this will be for both patients and staff.
Recovery is a challenge for the whole health and care family in Gloucestershire and everyone is playing their part to ensure the NHS is on a firm footing to move forward.
If your symptoms become worse while you are waiting for your operation, you should contact your GP, go to NHS 111 for advice, or contact the team involved in your care
Help and support
All NHS organisations have a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) which is there to provide support and advice for patients.
How to Contact Us
- If you would like one our Elective Care Team staff to contact you, either to check that you remain on our waiting list for treatment or to discuss your wait time and any concerns, then please email them at: ghn-tr.WaitingListPatientEnquiry@nhs.net. Please include details of your full name, date of birth, preferred contact number and a brief outline of your enquiry. A member of the team will aim to contact you within 2 working days on your preferred number to discuss.
- If you wish to cancel, change or ask a question about your outpatient appointment please contact the relevant department detailed here
- If your enquiry relates to anything else please visit our Contact Us page for details of key contacts
- Gloucestershire's COVID-19 portal has regularly updated advice and information about COVID-19, including a section about hospital appointments
- The Centre for Perioperative Care has produced a series of Frequently Asked Questions to address some of the concerns that you may have about going to hospital during the pandemic and to offer advice on how you can best prepare for your operation
- Read our patient leaflet about having an operation at our hospitals