Hospital waiting times

Page updated 6 June 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment, and the length of time people are waiting for appointments. 

We know it’s difficult for people who have problems that are causing them pain or preventing them getting on with their lives. We are prioritising people with the highest clinical need and those who have been waiting the longest.

It will take some time to address the backlog, but NHS staff are totally committed to getting people the care they need and getting the waiting lists down.

We are working across all the NHS hospitals in Kent and Medway and with a number of private hospitals. This could mean people are offered appointments at hospitals which may not be their nearest. We understand this is less convenient but would encourage people to take the opportunity to get the treatment they need.

 

Hospital waiting list queries

If you are waiting for a hospital treatment and have questions, please contact the hospital directly. Please do not contact your General Practice as they do not have access to details of waiting lists.

Please check referral/appointment letters for specific contact details. If you have not been given a contact point use the numbers in the boxes below. For other hospitals not listed please use the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) contact number that will be published on hospital websites.

The Dartford and Gravesham trust runs Queen Mary's Hospital and Darent Valley Hospital. They have a Theatre Scheduling team who can answer questions about waiting lists:

Queen Mary's Hospital

  • Telephone: 0208 302 2678 ext. 5438, 5437 and 5440

Darent Valley Hospital

  • Telephone: 01322 428100 ext. 8664, 8500, 8262 and 8921

Find out more about the Theatre Scheduling team. This page includes an average waiting times dashboard for different treatment areas.

The East Kent trust runs William Harvey Hospital (Ashford); the Kent and Canterbury Hospital (Canterbury) and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (Margate).

Queries about waiting lists for all three hospitals should be directed to the trust's PALS service on 01227 783145, by email ekh-tr.pals@nhs.net or their online form.

Treatment area Contact details

Ear Nose and Throat
Includes adult and paediatric

mtw-tr.ENT-gpref@nhs.net 
01622 228218

Ophthalmology
Includes adult and paediatric
mtw-tr.EYES-gpref@nhs.net

Specialist Medicine and Elderly Care
Includes General Medicine

mtw-tr.genmed-gpref@nhs.net
01622 228219

Surgery
General Surgery (Upper & Lower GI)

mtw-tr.scauugi@nhs.net
mtw-tr.scaulgi@nhs.net
01622 228220

Women & Children’s
Includes adult and paediatric Gynaecology (not antenatal) and General Paediatrics

mtw-tr.paediatricreferrals@nhs.net
mtw-tr.gynaecologyreferrals@nhs.net
mtw-tr.fertility@nhs.net
mtw-tr.AntenatalClinic@nhs.net
01622 228222
01892 633181

Trauma & Orthopaedics
Includes Paediatric Orthopaedics

mtw-tr.ortho-gpref@nhs.net for fracture referrals only
mtw-tr.ortho-cau@nhs.net  for all other queries
01622 228221​​​​​​​

Surgical Speciality
Urology, Breast, Gynea-Onc and Vascular

mtw-tr.urologycau@nhs.net ​​​​​​​
 mtw-tr.scauvascular@nhs.net
mtw-tr.scaugynaeonc@nhs.net
mtw-tr.scaubreast@nhs.net
01892 631202

 

For waiting list queries at Medway hospital please contact their Patient Advice and Liaison Service: 

Email: medwayft.pals@nhs.net

Telephone: 01634 825004 

The service is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Improvement actions

Significant work is happening across Kent and Medway to increase capacity for elective treatments, both inpatient and day case, including:

  • A shared waiting list across all four acute trusts so patients facing the longest waits can be treated at other locations.
  • Increased capacity to run theatres for longer hours and over weekends.
  • A new orthopaedic surgery unit at the Kent and Canterbury hospital.
  • Continued use of private hospitals to treat NHS patients.
  • Investment in community rehabilitation beds; so people can be discharged from hospital more quickly to allow others to be treated.

There is significant investment being made to help clear the waiting lists as quickly as possible. In 2021/22, the NHS in Kent and Medway invested £36.4m in elective care recovery schemes. Further investment of £49m is supporting our response to current pressure on urgent care services; this also helps to protect our ability to continue elective care.

The NHS in Kent and Medway has received £34.7m in new capital funding, allocated across a three-year period, to create Community Diagnostic Centres (CDCs) across Kent and Medway.
 
Work is happening in each Health and Care Partnership (HCP) area in Kent and Medway to plan and prepare for Community Diagnostic Centres. This includes engaging with people from those areas, identifying potential locations, assuring computer systems are established and can link with each other, and improving patient care pathways.
 
Different areas in Kent and Medway will have different approaches, relevant to their local needs and populations. They will also work to slightly different timescales.  However, the CDCs will operate as a network across Kent and Medway so that patients can access diagnostic tests in a location convenient to them. 

We have been successful in opening two early adopter CDCs located at Hermitage Court in Maidstone and Buckland Community Hospital in Dover. 
 
Whilst both CDCs are operational, further work is in progress to establish them as fully functioning CDCs in line with national requirements.  Thousands of people are already able to access diagnostic tests nearer to their homes, so they can start any treatment needed. CDCs are helping to keep acute services in Maidstone and East Kent available for emergency and elective patients.
 

My Planned Care

The NHS has launched a new website where you can see the waiting list information by hospital trust for each speciality they provide.

Details for Kent and Medway:

Advice on health and wellbeing while waiting for treatment

Waiting list data is published by NHS England each month. The latest position (March 2022 data) for all hospital elective care waiting lists across Kent and Medway shows:

  • the average waiting time is 11.2 weeks
  • approximately 181,088 people on waiting lists
  • 65.5% of people have been waiting less than the 18-week target
  • 5,287 people have been waiting over 52 weeks.

These are averages across all treatment areas and all four hospital trusts. 

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