NHS staff do 'everything they can' to clear wait times backlog in Suffolk

Ipswich Hospital/Colchester Hospital/West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: Archant

Ipswich Hospital/Colchester Hospital/West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

NHS staff are under immense pressure to clear the backlog of patients waiting for treatment in Suffolk as the number continues to rise.

Both the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust have seen significant increases to the number of people and the length of time people are waiting for treatment since last year.

In September this year there were 24,086 patients waiting to start treatment at West Suffolk Hospital, up more than 20% compared to the previous September.

There were 62,903 people on the waiting list at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, up 11.4%, and 1,534 people have been waiting for more than a year for an appointment there.

While more than 1,900 people had to wait longer than 56 weeks at West Suffolk Hospitals for treatment.

Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016.

Neill Moloney, acting chief executive of ESNEFT,  said: “We are doing everything we can to treat patients as quickly and as safely as we can. However, we must be realistic and accept that we still have a waiting list to work through due to the Covid-19 pandemic and some people will, unfortunately, be waiting longer than we’d want them to be.

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“Our dedicated teams are working incredibly hard to tackle the backlog and to reduce the number of patients waiting for treatment in our communities.”

A WSFT spokesperson said: "Our staff have worked tirelessly to treat both Covid and non-Covid patients throughout the pandemic. Urgent and emergency procedures, including cancer care, have continued and we are doing everything we can to treat patients as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, during the pandemic, waiting lists have increased and we appreciate the impact this has on patients who are waiting for an appointment or treatment. We are prioritising patients based on clinical need in line with national guidelines.

"We are also working with our NHS healthcare partners and the independent sector to increase capacity where possible, using the additional funding awarded across Suffolk and north east Essex to tackle waiting lists.”

Councillor Adam Fox, Leader of the Colchester Labour Group said: "Waiting lists in Colchester are too long and getting longer. That’s not just a statistic – it’s local people living with real pain, and risk longer than they should."

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