Trusts have been told today by NHS England that they must book appointments by the end of this month for all patients who have been waiting longer than 78 weeks. A letter from NHS England sent to trust leaders set out the new orders and represents system leaders’ attempt to ramp up progress on this cohort of patients, which the NHS and government elective recovery plan commits to eliminating by March.
The appointments must be issued this month, and be dated before the end of March, for these pathways, of which about 48,000 are recorded nationally. The letter also warns trusts that, while NHSE will accept some inpatient cancellations are unavoidable, cancelling outpatient appointments — even during strike action — is viewed as less acceptable.
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Source: HSJ, 12 January 2023
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