While You Wait

Advert about waiting for a hospital appointment or operation?

The backlog from the Covid-19 pandemic and workforce challenges have meant that some operations and procedures have had to be postponed, leading to understandable concern for those waiting. The NHS is working hard to get people seen as quickly as possible.

The NHS Constitution gives you the right to receive your non-urgent, consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks from the day your appointment is booked through the NHS e-Referral Service, or when the hospital or service receives your referral letter. However, this does not apply if you choose to wait longer, or it is clinically appropriate that you wait longer. Read more about the NHS guide to waiting times

If you are referred for a physical or mental health condition, in most routine (non-urgent) cases you can choose which provider you would like to be referred to based on your personal preference. You can find out more about Patient Choice here.

About waiting times

Every effort is being made to reduce waiting times for patients. All our hospital teams across Norfolk and Waveney are working together to find ways to reduce waiting times with the aim of getting to you as soon as possible.

You can find information about waiting times for specific procedures at the My Planned Care website, or use the NHS app. More information about waiting times is provided in the FAQs page below.

If you (or someone you care for) are waiting on delayed medical care, you are likely to have concerns and questions. Please read our leaflet for further information which includes contacts for the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) teams in our three local hospitals.

What you can do to help make sure your procedure goes ahead

If you’re waiting longer than you expected for your treatment or procedure, it’s even more important to use this time to get as healthy as you can. Take action to make sure that you are fit and ready for your procedure. This is essential to avoid complications during surgery and prepare for a successful recovery.

If you have a long-term health condition, it should be under control before your procedure. If you are not fit enough for surgery or your health condition is not under control, your procedure may be postponed.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists has developed “Fitter Better Sooner” resources, which can help you prepare for your surgery both physically and mentally.

My Planned Care also has a section on keeping well and preparing for your procedure, with information on topics such as employment advice, money worries, sleep, support for carers, unplanned weight loss or malnutrition, and much more.

Find out more:

Keep moving to maintain your health

Find tips and ideas to help you make activity part of your daily routine.

Learn more

Healthy eating and drinking

Learn how important a healthy diet is before and after your procedure.

Learn more

Stop smoking

Quitting is one of the best things you can do to prepare, and recover quickly.

Stop today

Take care of your mental health

Learn how you can reduce anxiety and find local services to help.

Learn more


Find information about waiting times, getting ready for treatment, and more.

Learn more