Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find out more information about my condition?

Check the ‘Other resources’ page of this website for links to websites and videos with information on a range of health conditions.

How long will I have to wait to be seen?

Waiting times depend on the type of treatment you need. The NHS in north east London is working hard to ensure all patients are treated as quickly as possible.

How do I check waiting times at my local hospital?

You can find out the approximate waiting times by visiting the ‘Estimated waiting times’ page on the My Planned Care website.

Am I able to choose to be treated at a different hospital? And will this mean joining the waiting list from the beginning?

Am I able to choose to be treated at a different hospital?

The NHS is offering more and more options to enable you to make choices that best suit your circumstances, giving you greater control of your care.  If a GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition, in most cases you can choose the hospital or service you’d like to go to.  Your choices in the NHS – NHS (

How will I be prioritised on the waiting list?

Patients will be prioritised based on two criteria: those with the greatest clinical need, and those who have waited the longest. The aim is for appointments to be allocated as fairly as possible so nobody is at a disadvantage.

Why can’t you tell me exactly how long I must wait?

We are working hard to rectify the backlog caused by Covid-19, but the lists are constantly changing, so it is hard for your healthcare providers to give an exact timeframe of when you will be treated.

What do I do if my condition is getting worse, but I have already received my appointment?

You can either contact your hospital specialist secretary/booking team. The number and email for this should be on your hospital appointment letter.

If you are unable to reach the specialist secretary/booking team, then please contact The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), a service that offer confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. You can find PALS officers in your local hospital.

What if my condition is getting worse and I still have not received an appointment letter?

If you have not heard from the hospital and your condition is getting worse, you need to contact your GP who will be able to advise.

What do I do if I have new symptoms and I am concerned they may not relate to my original condition?

You should contact your GP who will assess and advise.

Can my GP help me get seen by the hospital quicker?

No, your GP won’t be able to help you get seen any quicker as your GP does not have access to the hospital appointment or waiting list system.

Hospital appointments and waiting lists are looked after by each department of the hospital.

My GP referred me to the hospital some time ago but I haven’t heard anything – who do I chase?

It may take some time for the hospital to contact you about your appointment, since people with the most urgent clinical need are being contacted first.

Contact The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who are part of the hospital team and offer confidential advice, support and information and act as a point of contact for patients, their families and carers.

You can find PALS officers in your local hospital.

I’m on the waiting list, but feel better and don’t know if I still need treatment

If you are on the waiting list but feel you no longer require treatment, then please contact your hospital as soon as possible to be removed from the waiting list.

Where can I go for benefits advice if my condition is impacting me working?

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a non-means tested benefit that helps people deal with some of the extra costs associated with long-term illness or disability. You’ll be assessed on things such as your ability to prepare food and drink, wash, dress, go to the toilet, manage health conditions and make financial decisions.

Further information can also be found here.

What happens if my operation is cancelled at the last minute?

If your operation is cancelled at the last minute (on or after the day of admission) for non-clinical reasons, you should be offered another binding date within 28 days with your current providers or a new date at a hospital of your choice.

If your operation is cancelled before the day of admission, the hospital or service is not obliged to provide an alternative option within 28 days.

However, your right to start consultant-led treatment within a maximum waiting time still stands. If cancelling your appointment results in you having to wait longer, you have the right to ask the hospital or NHS North East London as the organisation responsible for moving you to a different provider.

Scroll to Top