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In order to combat the increase in waiting times for elective procedures, a new national government programme is being launched on 31st October.

This new programme is called PIDMAS (Patient Initiated Digital Mutual Aid System) and aims to reduce waiting by offering patients the opportunity to move provider and receive quicker care or treatment.

Initially, it will be aimed at those patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks, either for a first appointment or for a planned procedure, and who do not have an appointment or any treatment scheduled within the next 8 weeks. Local NHS providers will contact all eligible patients and make them aware of how they can register their request to move provider. Whilst many patients will be eligible, there will be some instances where no alternative provider can be found - these patients will be contacted and informed.

Once a patient elects to move provider, and if alternative provision can be found, they will then be transferred to the care of the new provider for all associated care and treatment for this episode of care. This means that all future appointments relating to the condition in question will be with the new provider – it is not possible to transfer back to the original provider once the transfer has been made. This will be made clear in the communication patients receive.

The offer will be made to all eligible patients in England and is the latest attempt by the NHS to improve patient choice and reduce elective waiting lists. This is the first cohort of patients to be contacted and further cohorts of patients will be offered the option to move provider in order of waiting time over the coming months.

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