My Hospital Journey
Milton Keynes University Hospital is committed to offering you treatment at the earliest opportunity. Management of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant an increase in waiting times for some elective (planned) pathways, which we are working hard to reduce. GPs continue to refer patients into the Trust for Outpatient appointments. You may need to wait longer for access to an appointment and where clinically appropriate, these appointments may be carried out by telephone or video. You will receive a letter from the hospital confirming your appointment with us, what type of appointment this is and what steps you need to take prior to this appointment.
► Your hospital journey and who to contact whilst waiting
The following information is intended as a general guide as each patient journey differs depending on their condition and individual needs.
► Hospital waiting times & information about your treatment
NHS England has developed an online platform called ‘My Planned Care’. This website gives advice and support while you wait and helps you to prepare for your hospital consultation, treatment, or surgery (excluding cancer treatment), for all acute hospitals across England.
If you are waiting for a hospital appointment, a procedure or treatment, you can access the platform to see average waiting times as well as helpful advice and support whilst you wait. The information is updated weekly and anyone can access it, including your carer, friends, relatives and the NHS team caring for you.
You don’t need to ring your GP or the hospital caring for you for an update on waiting times as all of the information will be available on the My Planned Care website.
The link to our hospital pages on My Planned Care can be found by clicking here.
You can also view up-to-date waiting times on our own website here: MKUH Waiting Times.
► Decision support tools
NHS England has added information to their website to support shared decision making between patients and their clinician. You may find they are useful before, during or between consultations, depending on the care pathway. They help you to understand your condition, the treatment options available and support you to make a decision on the best treatment option for you depending on your personal circumstances and desired outcome.
► What we are doing to reduce our waiting lists
We are working on a number of different projects to increase capacity across hospital departments such as putting on extra clinics and operations in evenings and at weekends. These may not be available in every department or every evening/weekend and will vary depending on the speciality, complexity and availability of resources/
We are also looking at different ways of working that enables us to see more patients. These include:
- Virtual appointments – Appointment types – Milton Keynes University Hospital (mkuh.nhs.uk)
- Patient initiated follow-ups – Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU) – Milton Keynes University Hospital (mkuh.nhs.uk)
However, reducing our waiting lists will not happen overnight and we do apologise for this. We understand that awaiting a diagnosis, treatment, or an operation to understand what is wrong with you and/or correct/improve your health problem can cause a great deal of anxiety for you and your family while you wait and are doing all we can to support you while you wait.
► Our waiting lists – how we prioritise
Our clinicians have been going through our waiting lists very carefully to prioritise those most in need to ensure patients are being seen depending on clinical requirements. The lists are reviewed regularly as we know some people’s conditions will deteriorate so whilst they might not have been a priority at the start, that could change as the weeks and months go by. There may also be patients whose symptoms remain the same or improve and that could lead to them waiting longer to be seen.
Each department will have their own prioritisation criteria, however, in all cases patients that could be at increased risk of loss of life or developing a life debilitating condition would be given greatest priority and seen first.
Unfortunately this could mean that you wait longer for diagnostic procedures and up to two years for your procedure/surgery following diagnosis.
► What is Infection Prevention and Control and how do we implement it in our hospital?
Infection Prevention and Control is a type of procedure that is carried out with the intent of preventing the transmission of communicable diseases by assessing, planning, implementing, and evaluating infection-control policies and measure. Infection prevention focuses on ensuring that infections do not get the chance to take hold by trying to avoid others catching the disease in the first place. Controlling infection focuses on the management of an infection in an individual patient or ensuring appropriate control measures are in place to minimise the spread of an outbreak of infection.
The Trust has strict infection prevention and control measures to ensure the safety of all staff, patients and visitors. These measures include:
- Washing and sanitising hands with approved high-quality soaps and sanitisers regularly.
- Ensuring all equipment and furniture is sanitised or replaced with fresh equipment after each patient.
- Ensuring there is adequate time given with specified air quality measures to ensure rooms are properly ventilated between patients.
- Staff, patients and visitors are encouraged not to attend the hospital if they are feeling unwell.
► What you can do while you wait for surgery
When you are waiting for treatment it can sometimes feel like a long wait. The information and advice here is aimed at helping you manage that wait so you arrive for your appointment in the best possible physical and mental health.
Your treatment may have conditions applied, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, being more active, reducing alcohol intake or some other kind of preparation. To avoid further delay you are advised to work on these while you wait. If you require help contact your GP practice, who will be able to direct you to a local service or make you an appointment with a relevant member of their staff (please note, this may not be a GP).
Whether the above are conditions of your appointment or procedure, undertaking actions to improve your overall health will put you in good stead for a speedier recovery. Remember, looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health, we know that poor mental health can have a physical health impact.
For more information and advice, you can watch the helpful video below from the Royal College of Anaesthetists – Preparing for surgery: Fitter Better Sooner
► Waiting in pain
We know the longer we are in pain the more our bodies become used to generating pain. This is a difficult concept to understand for both patients and clinicians alike. We refer to this as chronic or persistent pain. Many of us suffer with this type of pain and frequently no medical underlying condition or cause can be found. In this circumstance our focus turns to understanding and managing the pain.
If you find yourself waiting for a medical assessment or procedure then hopefully there may be a more definitive outcome thereafter, but inevitably, through no fault of your own, some of the chronic pain processes may be developing in the background. It may be helpful therefore to consider this whilst waiting and adopting some of the pain management strategies that is about reducing the sensitivity and turning down the pain ‘volume’.
The following can help you manage this pain while you wait for your appointment:
- Learning about your pain
- Living a healthier lifestyle
- Doing the things that matter to you
- Taking care of your emotional wellbeing
Learning about your pain
Learning about your condition that causes your pain, triggers that make it worse, what helps to relieve the pain or activities you can do that take your mind off it can help you to create self-management strategies that you may be able to adopt whilst living with your pain. Everyone’s pain experience is different, and everyone has different goals they would like to work towards. Therefore, having knowledge around your condition can help increase your confidence when making decisions around what to change and how to take back control of your life. If you use the internet to research your condition we would urge you to visit trusted British websites, eg, Government website (gov.uk), NHS websites (nhs.uk), University websites (ac.uk) and trusted charity websites (org.uk). Your local GP practice website is also a good source of information.
Living a healthier lifestyle
Having a healthier lifestyle can increase your energy and function, that will give you a better chance of managing chronic pain. For example, pain can often disrupt sleep patterns, leaving you feeling more fatigued and irritable than you might already be. Lack of sleep impacts emotional state, psychological wellbeing and physical performance, all of which contribute to an increase in pain. By learning about sleep and trying different tools to improve sleep, such as relaxation, activity, position and medications, you may be able to improve your sleep patterns and in turn give you a better chance of managing your pain.
Doing the things that matter to you
If you live with chronic pain, it’s only natural that you find it hard to continue to do the things that matter to you in your life. It is often the pain that stops people doing the things they value, not forgetting the added stressors that pain can cause such as fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, fear and low self-confidence.
It is really important that you try to continue to do the things (or some of the things) that you enjoy, despite the pain, to help improve your quality of life. This may seem impossible at first, which is where goal setting can be useful. Small and achievable short-term goals can allow you to work towards realistic long-term goals. Achievable goals can also help to improve your confidence and sense of self-worth.
Taking care of your emotional wellbeing
As you may be aware, pain can affect the way you think, feel and behave. This can also have an impact on your pain – which is why you should look at ways to manage your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The added stressors of life that pain can cause include fatigue, muscle tension, sleep problems, stress, anxiety, depression, fear, guilt, low mood, feeling unworthy and low self-confidence – all of which are not helpful to anyone as they can ‘wind up’ our pain system. If we can use resources to catch negative thoughts or learn how to communicate your needs, for example, you may be able to start to reserve energy to use in a positive way.
► Where to get further help
The NHS App
Owned and run by the NHS, the NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet, including appointments and referral information.
You can also access NHS App services from the browser on your desktop or laptop computer. To find out more go to: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-app/
Your GP Practice
All GP practices have their own website, which is filled with lots of useful information on a range of topics, including signposting to services available in your area.
Most GP practices are aligned to a Primary Care Network (PCN) and within either your practice or PCN you have access to a range of different Health Care Professionals that can support you with preparing for your treatment as outlined in the sections above, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, improving your health & wellbeing, increasing your activity, improving your mental health, etc.
Your Local Pharmacy
Your local pharmacist is a good place to get local advice, particularly if you have any questions around your medication.
► What to do when you get your appointment confirmation
When it’s time for you to come for your appointment or procedure, the provider of your treatment will get in touch with you directly. Initially, that may be to check that your treatment is still needed or wanted, if you would be willing to travel to a different NHS or independent hospital for your procedure, or if you have certain underlying health conditions that may mean your treatment would only be suitable in an NHS hospital. You should aim to respond to these queries as soon as possible.
Some appointments will be offered via video or telephone, where that is appropriate and possible for the patient.
If, for any reason, you are unable to attend your appointment or wish to cancel, please let us know at your earliest convenience using the number provided on your appointment letter. This will ensure we can give your appointment to someone else on the list in good time and the appointment is not wasted.
► Patient Portal
Once you are a registered patient at Milton Keynes University Hospital, you will be able to gain access to the MyCARE Patient Portal, where you will be able to do the following:
- See your appointments
- change the date or time of your appointment
- view your appointment letters
- confirm your attendance
- view your clinical correspondence letters from your outpatient appointment
- view your discharge summaries
- receive reminder texts
- add appointments to your personal calendar
- set additional reminders to suit you on your device
- view your test results on the Apple Health app (iOS devices)
Once signed up to the portal you will no longer receive letters in the post unless you specifically opt into receiving letters.
If you are a patient at Milton Keynes University Hospital and would like to access the Patient Portal, please follow this link https://patients.mkhospital.nhs.uk/
You will be asked to register either with your email or NHS login account and telephone number.
Last Modified: 3:12pm 06/12/2023
- Waiting list – Patient information
- Finding the hospital
- Patient Leaflets – Virtual Library
- Going Home
- Maps and car parking
- Visitor Information
- Tell us about your care
- Letters to Loved Ones at MKUH
- MyCARE Patient Portal
- Walking Aid Recycling
- Overseas Visitors
- Who’s who: Ward staff
- Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU)
- Teaching at MKUH
- Ward Information