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Patients waiting months could travel for treatment

Patients who have been waiting more than 40 weeks for treatment in England will be offered the option of getting seen in another part of the country.

About 400,000 will be contacted in the coming weeks and asked whether they would be willing to travel and how far.

Patients already have a right to ask for treatment elsewhere. But NHS England believes that by proactively contacting the longest waiters they will help unlock some of the worst bottlenecks in the system.

Only those who do not have an appointment already scheduled within the next eight weeks will receive the offer via text, email or letter.

The 400,000 figure represents about 5% of the total number waiting for treatment.

If a patient is happy to travel, the treatment could either be in an NHS or private sector hospital.

Those on low incomes will be entitled to some financial support to enable them to travel for treatment.

Patients will retain their place on the waiting list at their local hospital while other options are explored.

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Source: BBC News, 31 October 2023


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