Follow-up appointments are to be scrapped and patients moved round the country under new plans to tackle the enormous NHS waiting list backlog, it was reported last night.
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid is understood to have ordered NHS health chiefs to come up with proposals to ease the backlog.
A review led by Sir Jim Mackey, the head of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will recommend that follow-up appointments after certain treatments be cut.
Instead patients will be told to only contact doctors if they experience any issues – a system known as ‘patient-initiated follow-up’, according to The Times.
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) is understood to have ordered NHS health chiefs to come up with proposals to ease the backlog
The Government is also said to be considering plans to speed up non-urgent hospital care through ‘hubs’ for routine surgery separate from emergency care.
For those who face long waiting times, the option could also be given to travel further in order to get treated more quickly.
Patients can already choose where they would like to be referred to, but health bosses are reportedly considering creating ‘clearing houses’ to offer care to those who have waited too long.
Waiting lists for routine NHS care in England have snowballed since the start of the pandemic to 5.8 million.
Another way to help clear millions of people from waiting lists could be technology to enable patients to communicate with clinical staff without in-person appointments.
A review led by Sir Jim Mackey, the head of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will recommend that follow-up appointments after certain treatments be cut (file photo)
The NHS app, currently used for Covid vaccine certificates, could be expanded to become the first point of contact when managing care in hospitals.
An NHS leadership review will also consider if pay rises should be offered to NHS chiefs who drive down waiting times.
It is understood that Mr Javid has been consulted on the changes but is yet to formally agree to anything.
A government source told The Times: ‘The elective recovery plan is still in development, no decisions have been made and there is plenty of road still to go before anything is signed off.’