The Covid pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability of the NHS to provide some routine services. We recognise that patients are waiting longer than we would all like and it is not always possible to identify when treatment will take place. This document provides you with information on how you can support yourself while waiting to attend the hospital.
You don’t need to ring your GP, or the hospital caring for you for an update on waiting times because all the information is available on the My Planned Care website.
This guidance has been supported by clinicians who are responsible for your care to support and to help keep you well whilst waiting for your procedure.
Guidance for patients
You will be contacted by your trust for your first appointment, while you wait do please read the remainder of this leaflet for more information on what can be done to support yourself.
How you can support yourself while you wait for your procedure?
There are things you can do whilst you are waiting for your appointment to make you sure you are as healthy and strong as you can be. In the time leading up to your appointment, be sure to take good care of yourself by taking a few smart steps.s.
Take your medication
Whilst waiting for your hospital treatment continue to follow medical advice and continue to take any medications as prescribed.
Make a list of any medicines you are taking, including prescriptions, medicines you’ve bought yourself or any alternative treatments and take this along to any appointments you have.
If you need to stop any medication before any investigations, you will be given clear instructions by the respiratory team. Please do not stop or change any medications yourself.
Keeping yourself healthy before your appointment is important. This document provides information on how you can maintain a healthy weight, get active, quit smoking and reduce your alcohol intake.
There are steps you can take now to help make first appointment and any required treatment or investigations a success. The national Better Health website can also help you to kickstart your health and prepare you for a healthier, happier future.
The UK guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 years (including disabled adults, pregnant women and new mothers) are to:
- Try and be physically active every day if you are able to do so
- Try strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) at least twice a week if you are able to do so
- Reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity if you are able to do so
- Make sure that the type and intensity of your activity is appropriate for your level of fitness. Visit: www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise to find out more.
With help, you’re much more likely to quit smoking than if you use willpower alone. Visit Make Smoking History to get free access to the latest quitting aids, one-to-one advice and support in your local area.
You can also speak to your GP or local pharmacist for help to stop smoking.
Alcohol can have many effects on the body, but importantly it can reduce the liver’s ability to produce the building blocks necessary for healing. Make sure you are drinking within the recommended limits, or lower.
Cutting back on alcohol can be an effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money. Any reduction in the amount you drink will be beneficial – and with the right support, it’s easier than you think. There are some simple tips and tools to help you start cutting down today.
You can also download the free Drink Free Days app.
Please seek medical advice before you stop drinking if you experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating or feeling anxious until you have your first drink of the day. It can be dangerous to stop drinking too quickly without the correct help.
Good mental health
It’s important during this time to take care of your mind as well as your body. You might be feeling down, worried or anxious while you wait for your appointment.
There are also Apps available to help support your health, mental health and wellbeing:
You can find tested and approved mental health apps here.
Other local support services can be found on the NHS website
Please follow the advice and guidance available on the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust website regarding your appointment
What should I do if my health is deteriorating?
This information is designed to help you manage your symptoms and help you try to stay in the best possible health whilst you await your appointment. It is however possible that some of your symptoms may get worse while you are waiting for your appointment.
There are some things to look out for that would indicate you should seek medical help:
- severe shortness of breath
- rapid, shallow breathing
- tiredness, drowsiness or confusion
- feeling faint
If you experience any of these issues we would recommend seeking urgent medical attention.
Alternatively, you can contact your GP practice. Whilst your GP does not have access to the hospital waiting list to get you seen sooner, if your condition is getting worse they can assess you, give advice and can contact the hospital on your behalf if necessary.
For any routine queries, please contact your hospital respiratory team. The number and email should be on your last hospital appointment letter.
Urgent health advice
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.