South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a pioneering new online tool to help local NHS patients choose where to receive planned hospital care.
The ‘Waiting Times on the Web’ application is the first in the country to bring together key hospital waiting time and performance data from a range of sources into a single interactive web-based application.
Patients and their doctors can use the tool to check the average waiting times for outpatient appointments and operations, across 17 different medical specialties, at seven local hospitals.
The tool shows how each hospital compares in delivering the 18 Week NHS Constitutional Standard and the proportion of previous patients who would recommend each hospital to their friends and family.
"Good information is a key element in patient choice"
- Dr Tharsha Sivayokan
Helping patients take greater control
South Gloucestershire CCG clinical lead for Elective and Planned Care Dr Tharsha Sivayokan said: “Good information is a key element in patient choice so I’m delighted that we’ve been able to offer this innovative new tool to help local people with these important decisions.
“Our experience shows that peoples’ choice of a hospital for planned care can vary significantly – for some people, proximity to home can be the most important factor, whereas for others waiting times or the hospital’s reputation for treating their condition could be what matters most.
“Whatever the case, up-to-date information is vital and by bringing it all together in one easy to use application, this tool can help patients take greater control of decision making in their treatment and care.”
The waiting times application has been developed by South Gloucestershire CCG in partnership with Omni Digital, who also developed the new CCG website, using publicly available data from a range of sources including the NHS Information Centre and NHS England. It will be updated monthly.
Digital Producer and Usability Consultant, Sam Hearn from Omni Digital added: “Translating this detailed and important data into a web friendly format was challenging but the end result is an effortless, and very useful web app that is responsive for mobile and accessible for all. It’s a great addition to the CCG website.”
Local hospitals currently contracted by South Gloucestershire CCG are covered by the tool, and patients can also see how a given hospital performs for their specific condition by using a simple filter.
Under the NHS Constitution, patients have a legal right to start their NHS consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral, and can choose where and when to receive treatment according to their preferences.
The web tool follows the launch by the CCG last year of an Android and iPhone Service Finder smartphone app that helps patients find local healthcare services wherever they are in South Gloucestershire.