National Voices were asked by NHS England and Improvement to explore the experience of waiting for care. They wanted to understand how waits, delays and cancellations impact on people and their families, particularly those living with long-term, multiple and chronic conditions.
The findings have compelling insights into issues around communication, receipt of referral, contacting health and care teams, estimations around length of wait, updates on delays, access to support and self-management and much more.
COVID-19 has led to many cancellations and delays, and it is clear that waiting will be an important feature of healthcare in England in years to come. Health inequalities also impact access to care and treatment and the experience of waiting. This makes the findings in Patient. Noun. Adjective even more important.
"Health and wellbeing deteriorates whilst being on a waiting list. For instance, recent polls found that half of those with experience of joint replacement surgery said their physical health deteriorated and one third said their mental health deteriorated while they were waiting."