Information for patients waiting for treatment

The NHS had to postpone many operations and procedures during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, to treat high numbers of patients who were very unwell with COVID-19.

At East Kent Hospitals, we were able to provide emergency and life-saving surgery, but many procedures had to be postponed.

We sincerely apologise if you have been referred to us and have had to wait longer than planned for treatment.

We have been able to re-open hospital services safely and we are doing all we can to provide as many operations and procedures as possible.

What this means for you

Please be assured that we know you are waiting. As soon as your operation can be scheduled, we will contact you. You do not need to contact the hospital or your GP.

The NHS has recently launched the My Planned Care Patient Digital Platform which gives you direct access to the latest average wait time information for East Kent Hospitals, as well as helpful advice and support whilst you wait.

We encourage you to look at this site where you may find the information you need about the procedure you are waiting for. As well as wait time information, the platform also includes helpful details about how to manage your pain, mental health, keeping healthy and accessing financial help and other local support whilst you wait. It can also help you to prepare for your appointment/operation, including how to make a plan for your care and treatment alongside your healthcare professional.

If your condition has worsened since you were referred to us for treatment, please tell your GP or contact your consultant’s secretary (their name will be on the letter you received from the hospital to confirm that you are on the waiting list for treatment).  

If after speaking to your GP or consultant’s secretary you still have concerns, you can use our online service for patients waiting for surgery

Alternatively, you can contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) by telephone on 01227 783145 or email ekh-tr.pals@nhs.net. The PALS service is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). 

If you no longer need treatment, for example, if you have had your procedure elsewhere, please let us know by contacting your consultant’s secretary.

How the NHS is prioritising patients for treatment

We are inviting patients into hospital for treatment based on their clinical priority. Cancer and clinically urgent patients remain our main area of focus, and our clinicians are reviewing the notes of each patient on the waiting list, to ensure each procedure is prioritised correctly.

We want to reassure you that you are still on our waiting list.

We understand that being ill or in pain has a significant impact on your quality of life. So we are also working with our partners to identify procedures that can be carried out in community settings rather than the main hospitals, so more people can be seen as quickly as possible.

Four-brand new operating theatres opened at Kent and Canterbury Hospital in August, which are dedicated to patients needing planned orthopaedic operations, such as hip and knee replacements. This will help us treat patients waiting for orthopaedic operations more quickly, and will mean our other operating theatres will have more capacity to treat other patients.

Further information

More information on what to expect when you come to your appointment is available on our coronavirus advice page.

If you need written information in another format such as audio, Braille, Easy Read and large print or an interpreter, please contact your consultant’s secretary.

If you have a hearing impairment you will be able to communicate by video with an interpreter who will relay what is being said on the phone to the member of staff. You will need to download the StarLeaf app to access this service. For more information, please visit our website at www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/video-sign-language

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