Hospital's plan to tackle huge waiting list after Covid

The Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital sign. Picture: Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will do "more work than ever before", its chief operating officer pledged. - Credit: Norfolk and Norfolk University Hospital

Norfolk’s biggest hospital will do “more work than ever before” over the coming months, its chief operating officer has pledged, in order to tackle a huge waiting list of operations. 

At the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s (NNUH) annual general meeting on Wednesday, chief operating officer Chris Cobb said: “We’ve got some of the largest waiting lists around.” 

“It’s worth looking back at pre-Covid,” he added.

“We were in the fortunate position in Norfolk where we’d got down to no patients waiting over a year for an operation. 

“Covid has had a significant detrimental impact on that and we’ve got large numbers of patients now waiting for access to all of our services.”

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Mr Cobb said the hospital was “on the cusp” of a period in which “the vast majority” of measures put in place to manage the spread of Covid-19 - such as social distancing - will be either removed or reduced. 

He said the loosening of these restrictions at the hospital would allow it to return “at least” to its level of activity just prior to the pandemic. 

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“We’re aiming to do more work than ever before in the last six months of this year and build a platform for next year,” said Mr Cobb, adding that this would include taking advantage of everything learnt during the pandemic. 

Norfolk and Norwich Unviersity Hosptial chief operating officer Chris Cobb. Picture: NNUH

Norfolk and Norwich Unviersity Hosptial chief operating officer Chris Cobb. Picture: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

In addition, he said, the construction of a new standalone building on the hospital grounds, which will be used for elective procedures, will bring “a huge benefit” to patients and staff.

“Winter is always a tough time for the NHS and the first thing that normally suffers with emergency pressures is that the elective programme can either be hindered or in some cases stopped. 

“Having a building which is dedicated to elective care outside of this building, that means we’ve got ringfenced elective care for the winter period and all of the operations that will go through that in the future will happen without any hint of disruption. 

“Going forward, that will be part of our plan to get some of those long waiting lists back down to size.”

Once up and running in summer 2022, Mr Cobb said the new facility at full capacity will offer another 600 operations per year.

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