A new report looks at ways to improve the experience of people aged 65 and over who are waiting for surgery.

More than five million people are currently waiting for hospital treatment.

Patiently waiting by PIF member Independent Age focuses on older people in England waiting for common elective or planned surgical procedures. The report:

  • Examines issues affecting older people's access to surgery both pre and post-pandemic
  • Looks at how longer waiting times affect older people
  • Explores what older people say about their experience of waiting for surgery
  • Considers what changes could make this experience better

Independent Age calls on the Government to 'transform the waiting period from one of anxiety to one of patient empowerment, preparation and holistic support'.


The report makes a series of recommendations to improve the experience of waiting for surgery in England, including:

  • NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI) working with charities, patient groups and other providers to provide clear signposting to local and national services that can provide practical or emotional support for those waiting for treatment. 
  • Supporting implementation of NHSEI's guidance Good communications with patients waiting for care by piloting different approaches to support these principles. 
  • Assessing patient-facing administration processes such as hospital correspondence, switchboards and booking systems and improving these services for people in later life.

The report also makes recommendations for Government on increasing NHS capacity and providing leadership and accountability.

Production of the report was supported by PIF members Bowel Cancer UK, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, National Voices, RNIB and Versus Arthritis.

Read it in full here.