Norwich hospital tackling waiting lists backlog

A Norwich hospital is making headway in clearing a backlog of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment, a meeting has heard.

In the last three months, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) has reduced the number of patients who had been waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment by 200.

However, a meeting of the N&N's council of governors heard this week how there are still 690 patients who have been waiting longer than this time for their treatment.

In December last year, a report to the board of the primary care trust (PCT) NHS Norfolk and Waveney revealed there were 52 people who had been waiting more than 52 weeks for treatment at the N&N.

Hospitals are required to treat patients within 18 weeks but once they breach – or go beyond – that limit, putting them back on a waiting list risks allowing another patient to miss the 18-week target, and hospitals aim to ensure that 90pc of patients are treated within this limit. For every individual breach, the hospital faces a fine, meaning some patients will simply be left waiting.

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The primary care trust tasked the hospital with bringing the number of patients who have been waiting more than year down to zero as a priority, and to also tackle its backlog of patients who have been waiting for more than 18 weeks.

The PCT told hospitals to concentrate on clearing the backlog without worrying about incurring further breaches.

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Chief executive Anna Dugdale said: 'As you know, we have struggled to achieve that 90pc. We agreed with the PCT back in December and the PCT are supporting us in treating the longest waiting patients first and we are doing that.

'In the last three months in spite of having a significant increase in emergency admissions and elective operations we have reduced the number of patients waiting over 18 weeks by 200.

'The number of people waiting over 18 weeks has come down quite significantly during that period.'

However, she told the meeting that as of Wednesday, March 21, there were still 690 patients waiting more than 18 weeks.

She said: 'We will be making very strong representations to continue to bring the breach backlog down.'

The governors were told that if the hospital had to cancel elective operations, it would never cancel urgent or cancer cases, and if patients had previously had an operation cancelled, staff would do their utmost to ensure it is not cancelled again.

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