Hospital warns of growing waiting lists as it goes £20m in the red

Betty Battelley from Dereham is among 131 patients who have had their private procedures cancelled

Betty Battelley from Dereham is among 131 patients who have had their private procedures cancelled at the NNUH as waiting lists grow. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A hospital has warned that long waiting lists are pushing services to 'unrecoverable positions'.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. NNUH

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. NNUH - Credit: Nick Butcher

More than 46,000 people are now waiting for treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) - up 9pc on last year.

Patients are meant to get treatment within 18 weeks of being referred, but only 80pc of patients are currently being seen within that time.

Papers going before the hospital's board on Friday warn that it means services are being pushed to "theoretically unrecoverable positions", unless there is a "significant change to process".

The growing waiting list are blamed on operations being cancelled because of lack of capacity and high levels of demand.

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Last week the NNUH cancelled 131 operations at the private Spire hospital in Norwich, saying it could no longer afford them.

Betty Battelley, from Dereham, had been due to undergo a replacement hip operation on November 30 at The Spire.

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But the 81-year-old received a phone call saying the operation had been cancelled for financial reasons.

"I was so upset - I was in tears," she said last week. "I was so close and it was just taken away from me."

An NNUH spokesman said the cancellations were for "non-urgent" operations which would be done within the next year.

They said cutting the number of operations with Spire would save £2m.

The hospital had planned to overspend by £21m this financial year, but with five months still to go it has already overspent by £19.7m, according to the board papers.

Last month the hospital hoped to run a surplus of £1.28m but was instead almost £1m in the red.

The overspend has been driven by temporary staffing costs.

However finance director John Hennessey said in his latest board report that the hospital is still forecast to meet its deficit of £21.4m this year.

A hospital spokesman said: "Where possible we continue to invest in our workforce and in services to improve patient care and meet growing demand."

The hospital is aiming to save £26.6m this financial year and has saved £10.7m so far.

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