Busy August for hospital sees surgery waiting list swell beyond 42,000 mark

PUBLISHED: 16:50 27 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:50 27 September 2019

File photo of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.  Photo: Nick Butcher

File photo of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The knock-on effect of growing strain on the emergency department at the region’s busiest hospital has seen the number of people waiting for non-urgent surgery swell to beyond 42,000.

In August, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital experienced a larger-than-anticipated spike in patients attending A&E, prompting a ripple effect elsewhere in the hospital.
The month has now seen the hospital's beds reach 94.6pc occupancy, with some 13,000 people making use of the emergency department at the hospital in August.

And bosses say that while they anticipated a three percent growth on the previous month, this figure turned out to be twice the increase expected.

Chris Cobb, chief operating officer at the hopsital, said: "August was an exceptionally challenging month. We had planned for a three percent growth, but what we actually saw was a six percent increase, which was a real concern.

"This was a huge challenge for our staff."

Mr Cobb added that he was also concerned about the number of people waiting for elective surgery procedures, which is in the tens of thousands.

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He said: "An area that is worrying is that the waiting list has gone up to more than 42,000 for elective operations." He said they had hoped it would be around 3,000 operations fewer.

He said that with pressures on the front door growing and resulting in increasing numbers of beds being occupied, this had a knock on effect on the amount of non-urgent procedures being carried out.

Mr Cobb added that he felt the hospital also needed to be better on its ambulance hand-overs,

He added: "We are running at 94.6pc bed occupancy, while last August this figure was 89pc."

The growing demand for the hospital's services, particularly in the emergency department, has been a recurring theme for the Colney site.

However, it has been dealt a boost with the award of planning permission to build a £14m new ward extension, which will see the hospital able to add an extra 70 beds to its roster.

Meanwhile, chief executive Mark Davies, who is soon to step down from his role, said he had "huge mixed feelings" over his departure.

He said: "I do feel I have had a good innings and am excited about my next challenge."

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