person on a phone person on a phone

The Waiting List Support Service

Mandy Rayani (SRO), Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, Mandy Davies (Project Lead), Assistant Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience.

Hywel Dda University Health Board


The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that planned surgery waiting times have increased significantly and the Waiting List Support Service (WLSS) pilot was developed in response to this. The aim was to develop a service which tested a process that proactively and compassionately communicated with patients who were on a waiting list.

We piloted an approach on a small cohort of orthopaedic patients (264) that had been waiting 52 weeks or over. They were contacted via a letter, which contained a link to an online resource specifically tailored for their condition as well as an offer of telephone support and advice.

Project Aims


Initial scoping identified no centralised or standardised process in place to contact patients across Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDdUHB), nor was there a single call handling approach to managing calls from patients who were waiting for elective surgery and needing advice or assistance to prevent deterioration of their condition.

A key challenge was to engage with clinicians and managers on the potential benefits of the WLSS in order to work collaboratively in the development and evaluation of the service. As such, right from the start the project team engaged and co-developed key aspects of the WLSS with core stakeholders.

Key Outcomes

Patients manage their condition while waiting with the online resources developed.

There were 84 hits to the orthopaedic webpage between 27th April and 12 May with an average of a 4 minute stay, twice as long as normal site viewers. 27% of recorded site views were patients returning to the online resource after looking at it before.

Spikes in website usage line up with dates when letters would have been received in batches. Later website hits are likely to be those returning to the site.

Line chart showing page views

Image: Page views over time. Pilot Start Date 26th April – First Batch of Letters Received 28th April

Early indications are the letter had the following impact; 25% of patients used the unique QR code to access the website provided in the letter and 6% used the telephone line for additional information.

Patient experience captures positive service feedback

82% out of the 10 patients surveyed answered ‘Always’ for the following questions;

The remainder answered ‘Usually’ (12%) or ‘Sometimes’ (6%). Lower scores seemed to be linked to waiting list time, as comments around call handlers were very positive.

Efficient use of resources

We asked medical secretaries whose patients were involved in the pilot a series of questions, the most notable outcomes were that during the pilot they received;

Next Steps

Learning from the project will be used to roll out the WLSS to other planned surgery services throughout HDdUHB. The evaluation has highlighted that whilst only a small percentage of people took up the offer of telephone communication the support and advice asked for was successfully managed, and that the bespoke online resources developed were well received and used. This will shape the approach to the wider roll out of the WLSS. Furthermore, we learned that we need to include more information on falls prevention as this has been found to be a concern for our patients.

Our Exemplar Experience

The Bevan Commission provided the opportunity, skills and assurances to explore and break down a complex project with ongoing support.


Bevan Exemplar Showcase