- A +

Improving Lincolnshire’s health and wellbeing

Coronavirus (COVID-19) For health information and advice, read our pages on coronavirus. Learn about the government response to coronavirus on GOV.UK

Waiting well for your outpatient appointment

hospital services - scan

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the NHS. Although COVID cases in our hospitals have now reduced we are still having to work in COVID-safe ways.  In Lincolnshire, we are working hard to tackle the backlog of patients whose care has been impacted by the pandemic.  We need to do this whilst also keeping our patients safe.

We know that patients are anxious about the length of time that they are having to wait for their hospital appointments and unfortunately, at the moment we are unable to confirm how long any wait may be.

We are reviewing and contacting all patients to understand their current situation and prioritise those in most urgent need.

Elective Care FAQs

  • When will I receive my appointment?

    Patients who have been referred to a hospital for any procedure will receive a letter from the National E-Referral System or from the hospital directly. If you have not received any correspondence within 4-6 weeks then you can contact your practice to check you have been referred, or check on the NHS app – this is free to download on any smartphone.

    Please be aware that the letter from the National E-Referral System may say you will hear from the hospital within 14 days, unfortunately due to the delays from COVID not all hospitals are able to respond within this time and therefore there may be some extended delays. Referrals are reviewed by consultants within the hospital and patients are prioritised according to their clinical condition.

  • What if my condition deteriorates?
    What if my condition deteriorates?

    If you have been referred to hospital and are waiting to be seen as an outpatient or inpatient, and your symptoms deteriorate you need to contact the hospital you have been referred to for a specialist to review your referral letter and changing symptoms (see contact numbers for each hospital). Your GP won’t be able to help with getting your referral dealt with any quicker, however they may be able to support with symptom management if your symptoms have worsened. You should contact the hospital you have been referred to for a specialist to review your referral letter and changing symptoms their contact details are in the image above.

    In these circumstances your GP practice is unable to help with getting your referral dealt with any quicker, however we may be able to support with symptom management if your symptoms have worsened.

  • How long will I have to wait for my operation?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the NHS. Although COVID cases in our hospitals have now reduced we are still having to work in COVID-safe ways. This means that it will take a long time for the NHS to restore services to pre-pandemic levels.

    In Lincolnshire, we will work hard to tackle the backlog of patients whose care has been impacted by the pandemic. We need to do this whilst also keeping our patients safe.

    Unfortunately, at the moment we can’t be certain. The pandemic has had a big impact on the NHS and we are trying to resume services and keep patients safe at the same time as we continue to treat Covid-19 cases. We are reviewing and contacting all patients to understand their current situation and prioritise those in most urgent need. Please be assured that we are trying to resume normal services as soon as possible. Hospitals are doing their utmost to ensure patients receive the treatment they require as soon as possible.

  • Is it safe to go ahead with my surgery? Will I catch Covid-19 in hospital?

    Our hospitals follow very strict rules for preventing all types of infection, including Covid-19. You will be cared for in a low risk area and all patients who are admitted to this area will have had a negative swab test, like you. We have safety measures in place to ensure that our staff are safe, and that suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and appropriate infection controls are undertaken.

  • How will I be tested for Covid-19?

    The test involves taking a swab of your nose or throat. When we are able to go ahead with your surgery, we will send you clear instructions on how, where and when the test will take place.

  • Will my family/carer have to isolate with me before I have surgery?

    Before you come in for surgery, we will give you clear instructions on the Covid-19 test and how to self-isolate after the test until you come into hospital. The instructions will also cover your family or carer and what they need to do with regard to your surgery.

  • What if I get worse?

    If you have been referred to hospital and are waiting to be seen as an outpatient or inpatient, and your symptoms deteriorate you need to contact the hospital you have been referred to for a specialist to review your referral letter and changing symptoms (see contact numbers for each hospital). Your GP won’t be able to help with getting your referral dealt with any quicker, however they may be able to support with symptom management if your symptoms have worsened.

  • How do I know if I have been referred?

    If you have been referred to a hospital, you will receive a letter from the National E-Referral System or from the hospital directly. If you have not received any correspondence within 4-6 weeks then you can contact your GP practice to check you have been referred, or check on the NHS app. Please be aware that the letter from the National E-Referral System may say you will hear from the hospital within 14 days, unfortunately due to the delays from COVID not all hospitals are able to respond within this time and therefore there may be some extended delays. Referrals are reviewed by consultants within the hospital and patients are prioritised according to their clinical condition.

  • What will happen when I am in the hospital?

    Many hospitals have separate facilities for patients undergoing surgery where all patients have been screened for COVID-19. The location of your treatment will be carefully selected. When you are in hospital, you will be asked to wear a mask and all staff will be wearing a mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE) too. If you find it difficult to hear or understand what is being said through the mask, please make staff aware, so that they take this into account and provide alternative ways of communicating with you. Visiting patients in hospitals is now permitted for most areas, but are still subject to some restrictions.

  • What will happen after my operation?

    After your operation, you will be able to recover on the ward. The length of time you spend in the hospital will depend on the complexity of your operation and the speed of your recovery. When you are discharged from hospital, you will normally return to your home. You should have a contact number from your surgical team where you can seek advice if you have any concerns. You should make sure that you follow the instructions in your discharge letter and remain in contact with your GP, who will be aware of any ongoing care or nursing you might need at home. Before you leave the hospital, you should try to find out your options for any follow-up appointments and post-operative visits that you may need. Unless further treatment is needed (e.g., chemotherapy), or there are complications after your operation, follow-up appointments will often take place via video, or over the phone, to reduce the risk of infection. You can speak with your GP in the same way. If you feel your condition is deteriorating do not hesitate to contact your GP or NHS 111 to get help.

Additional support

  • Coping with Stress

    Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure and, coupled with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, it is the reason for one in five visits to your GP surgery.

    We recommend ten simple stress busters:

    • Be active – exercise helps you deal with your problems more calmly
    • Take control – it’s crucial to finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else
    • Connect with people – a problem shared is a problem halved
    • Have some me time – set aside a couple of nights a week to leave work at a reasonable hour and do something you enjoy (the UK works the longest hours in Europe)
    • Challenge yourself – do something new, such as learning a language or a new sport
    • Avoid unhealthy habits – don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as ways of coping
    • Do volunteer work – helping people who are worse off than you will put your problems in perspective
    • Work smarter, not harder – concentrate on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work
    • Be positive – be glass half full instead of glass half empty
    • Accept the things you can’t change – and concentrate on everything you have control over

    Spotting the early signs of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and stop you adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking. There are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.

  • Coping with Pain

    The Lincolnshire Community Pain Management Service (CPMS) has been designed to support patients living with persistent pain. Our Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) is made up of a variety of pain clinicians such as Nurses, Physiotherapists, Consultants, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and specialist GP’s to help patients live a full and meaningful life despite their pain.

    Patients are referred into the service through a health professional e.g. GP / Consultant / Community Service etc – currently there is no self-referral route.

    Your first appointment will be made by the by the service contacting you, the patient and all subsequent appointments are by the patient contacting the service.

    To contact the patient co-ordination centre please call 01522 581777. The Connect Health website contains a wealth of information for patients. Patient leaflet

    In addition there are Public Health web resource available for patients which help education on managing pain.

    Find out more

  • Mental Health and Wellbeing

    We all need good mental health and wellbeing – it’s essential to living happy healthy lives. Self-care and general lifestyle changes can help us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. They may also help to prevent problems from developing or getting worse and can help us deal with difficult times in the future.

    It’s important to remember there isn’t always an instant solution, recovering from mental health problems and maintaining good mental wellbeing takes time and focus.

    Find out more

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle

    One You Lincolnshire, a new integrated healthy lifestyle service, has launched to support residents of the county with making significant long-term changes to their health.

    Lincolnshire County Council in partnership with NHS Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, have commissioned the healthy lifestyle provider, Thrive Tribe, to deliver the preventative health service. One You Lincolnshire is the most recent addition to the health provider’s portfolio of services, which includes England’s leading Stop Smoking services.

    Residents in Lincolnshire have free access to health coaches that support being smokefree, drinking less, eating well and moving more.

    Find out more