Help us understand what patients think about turning ‘waiting lists’ into ‘preparation lists’

Dr Lisa Plotkin

CPOC Policy Manager

CPOC is now half-way through our Perioperative Care Green Paper programme.  As part of this work, we’ve spoken to dozens of people working in different specialisms and settings across the NHS and in local and national government about their priorities for perioperative care.  A huge ‘thank you’ to all of them for being so candid and forthcoming about the opportunities and challenges as they see them for making progress on this agenda.

We’ve also tested a lot of messaging and ideas with people to see which perioperative care concepts or approaches are resonating the most right now. Against the backdrop of Covid response and recovery efforts, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that many people are most interested in how quality perioperative care can help the NHS accelerate elective recovery. In particular, CPOC’s concept of ‘turning waiting lists for surgery into preparation lists’ has struck a chord with stakeholders across the sector – from think tanks to Royal College partners to industry.  

We’ve been spending some time exploring what that concept actually means in practice for patients, for healthcare teams, and for the NHS and health system as a whole. CPOC will be releasing a podcast in partnership with the RCoA soon that explores this in more detail, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for that!

As part of this, we’re keen to ensure that we understand what patients from across the UK think about this. From what we’ve been able to find so far, there is a paucity of evidence about what patients most want, need, and think when it comes to the NHS waiting list. National Voices has produced a very good account into current literature on ‘waiting well’ but – as CPOC’s evidence review into patient attitudes reveals – we simply don’t know that much about what patients most value as they wait for surgery.

So that’s why we’ve decided to run a patient facing survey into this topic – asking patients who have recently had surgery (past five years) or are currently on the NHS waiting list about their time spent waiting and their overall care. We want to hear from patients about what worked, what didn’t, and what advice or suggestions they have for how to best get from ‘waiting list’ to ‘preparation list.’ 

If you agree that patients should be at the heart of this conversation, we’re now asking for your help. Here’s how:

  1. If you are someone who has recently had surgery (past 5 years) or is currently on the NHS waiting list – we want to hear from you! Please consider taking our very short survey, which can be accessed here.  The deadline for responses is 18 July.
  2. If you work for the NHS, please consider asking your patients to take our 5–10-minute survey.  Even if your patients aren’t waiting for surgery, there are still some questions relevant for them too.
  3. If you are a member of a Royal College, Association, Faculty, or other charity that works with patients (for example, does your College have a Patient or Lay Committee?), please distribute this link to those networks.
  4. Tweet out this blog or our ‘survey launch tweet’ on Twitter to help us spread the word.

Thank you so much in advance for any help you can give. Please check back here in late August when we release the findings from this survey, or you can sign up to CPOC’s monthly e-newsletter here to get regular updates on all of our work, including this survey.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or want to feed in to our Green Paper work, please email us as