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PIDMAS – Patient Initiated Digital Mutual Aid System

As part of the drive to reduce elective waiting lists, NHS trusts are now proactively contacting patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks*, and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, to consider their options to see if they could be seen sooner at a different hospital. (*some clinical exclusions apply).

Eligible patients will be contacted directly by the NHS trust or independent sector provider they are currently under the care of. Please do not contact your GP practice or NHS hospital proactively regarding this offer.

Eligible patients will be provided with more information in regards to the process when they are invited to consider their options.

We know you may have questions about the new initiative, so we’ve collated a number of FAQs below:

Who will contact me to let me know if I’m eligible to switch provider?

The NHS trust or independent sector provider who is currently overseeing your care will contact you if you are eligible.

If your request progresses, it is the responsibility of the ICB to try and find an alternative hospital appropriate for you.

What happens is an alternative provider with a shorter waiting time can’t be found?

If an alternative provider is not identified, you will be informed and you will remain with your current provider.

Will my position on the original waiting list be affected if I decide to explore alternative providers?

No, your position on your current waiting list will not be impacted if a new provider isn’t identified.

Can all patients waiting for treatment over 40 weeks change their provider?

Not all patients waiting over 40 weeks will be invited to request to move provider. Patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks and have an appointment date within the next 8 weeks will be excluded from the process on the basis that it will be quicker for them to remain with their current provider than move to an alternative provider.

In addition, there may be some patients whose clinical condition means that it would not be appropriate to move provider. This is particularly relevant to patients whose condition is clinically complex.

How long will the process take?

You will be told if a new provider has been found or not within five to six weeks of starting the process.

If moving provider is not possible, it is expected you will be told within two to three weeks.

Will I be entitled to expenses for travel and accommodation if I choose to go to a different provider?

There is the existing NHS Travel Reimbursement Scheme which is available to for patients who meet the necessary criteria.

ICBs have also been asked to ensure that the longest waiting patients who are prepared to travel beyond their local hospitals to receive earlier treatment are not disadvantaged based on their personal circumstances. Each individual will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

After my first appointment at the alternative provider will I be transferred back to my local NHS Trust?

No, you will be under the care of the chosen provider throughout your pathway of care until you are discharged. This includes any subsequent appointments.

Is there a time limit for me to respond?

No. Some patients may respond immediately - others may take weeks to decide that they wish to opt in. There are no restrictions.

Will there be an additional cost if I choose an independent service provider?

There will be no additional cost if you decide to use an independent sector provider.

What if I am waiting for an appointment but have been waiting less than 40 weeks?

Phase one is for patients waiting over 40 weeks. The offer will be widened in a phased approach over the coming months.