NHS England is set to roll-out a new pilot system across the country making it easier for GPs to understand the waiting times at hospitals for their patients.

Prior to this, NHS carried out a trial of the Capacity Alert system, results of which showed improved service access.

The system was developed after NHS England commissioned The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT ) to introduce new ways of helping hospital trusts ease pressure on services.

NHS England Operations and Information director Matthew Swindells said: “This system makes it even easier for GPs and patients to understand hospital waiting times which will in turn see benefits for patients and hospitals.

“The Capacity Alert system is a good example of how smarter working and relatively simple innovations can lead to another big improvement in NHS services.”

The new e-traffic light system will offer patients a clearer choice of treatment.

Appearance of a red light denotes hospitals with longer waiting times on the GP referral system, while a green light shows GPs that a hospital has available capacity.

This helps doctors make sure that patients have quicker access to treatment.

During the trials, red lights reduced referrals to overbooked hospitals by nearly 40%, while green lights increased referrals to hospitals with available capacity by 14%.

The trials of the Capacity Alert system were successful in North East and South West London and BIT is now supporting its roll-out across the NHS in England.