Alternative Choice for patients waiting over 40 weeks for treatment

31 October 2023

A new national initiative offering patients a potential alternative choice of where to have their treatment has launched.

The Patient Initiated Digital Mutual Aid System (PIDMAS) has been created to help manage the process.

From 31 October 2023, patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks for treatment and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks could be eligible to request to move to a different hospital to be treated sooner.

Those eligible will be contacted by the NCA via letter or text and given a web link and telephone number to submit a request to explore their options.

Once a patient has submitted their details, including how far they are willing to travel, this will be reviewed. If a patient is deemed appropriate to move the process will then begin. If a patient requests to move (options are 50 miles, 100 miles or nationally) it is the role of the local Integrated Care Board to make every effort to identify an appropriate alternative hospital.

However, there may be circumstances in which it is not clinically appropriate to move to a different hospital or alternative capacity is not available. If there is no capacity available locally (within 50 or 100 miles) and a patient is willing to travel nationally, their details will be uploaded to the system (PIDMAS) and other hospitals will be able to offer to treat the patient if appropriate. If an alternative provider is found then the patient will be contacted and asked if they would like to proceed.

If an alternative hospital isn’t found the patient will remain with their current provider and they will receive an appointment as soon as one becomes available.

Eligible patients will be contacted directly by the NCA via letter or text from 31 October 2023.

Please do not contact your GP practice or the NCA proactively regarding this. Please be assured that any eligible patients will be contacted and provided with more information regarding the process.  If you have further questions on this, please look at these Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: If you receive a text or letter about this and already have an appointment/treatment booked then please attend for this appointment as planned. If you have recently been discharged from the service you were attending and receive a text or letter about getting your care at another hospital then please disregard this letter/text.

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