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Your relatives and friends are important to you. It can be difficult watching them go through the stress of dealing with their condition and trying to navigate the many different rules and regulations each hospital has when trying to get an appointment.

And if your help isn't enough, we are always on hand to offer support. should help you to advise your relative or friend and enable them to get their treatment as fast as possible.

Did you know?

If your friend or family member has been referred to hospital by their GP, they have a legal right to be treated within 18 weeks of being referred.

That means that a "clock" starts ticking once that referral has arrived at the hospital from the GP.

You can easily calculate when your friend or family member should receive their treatment using our handy 18 week calculator.

Know your rights

The most common problem patients face is not hearing from the hospital for a long time. To reassure them, if they have been referred to a surgical specialty such as Opthalmology or Orthopaedics they should expect an appointment within 6-8 weeks.

If the referral was to a medical specialty such as Cardiology or Rheumatology it often takes a little longer, most likely 8-10 weeks.

If your friend or relative has not heard from the hospital within these times you should contact the hospital department directly. And if your help isn't enough, the team at are always on hand to offer support.

It's often this stage your friend or relative will find most stressful. As you can imagine, departments are busy but many patients struggle to get through for long periods. If this is continually happening you should ask to be put through to the PALs service for the hospital, which deals with complaints and ask them to have someone from the department contact you within 24 hours.

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If you are still having issues with getting an appointment we're here to help. Get in touch!

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Things to watch out for

When the time comes for your friend or family member to have their appointment, remind them to always ask for their 18 week treatment date and the 18 week outcome of their appointment. This information always helps should something go wrong in the future with any follow up or diagnostic appointments.

Always try to get appointment dates whilst at the hospital, so if for example your friend or relative needs a diagnostic test or follow-up outpatient appointment, remind them to try and get that appointment before they leave.

If they have been added to the waiting list for a surgical procedure, note down the time and date - again this will help if there is a problem arranging their surgery.

Hospitals can "pause" a treatment clock if a patient makes themselves unavailable for surgery for a period of time. If your friend or relative has done this you should always ask for the new 18 week treatment deadline. If you are not sure, ask anyway, it will not do any harm to check if there is a pause on your friend or family members clock.

If, for any reason you are having trouble with a friend or family member's treatment -we're there for you. Simply get in touch, tell us as much about the situation as you can and we will do the rest.

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