Data released by 60 NHS trusts following Freedom of Information requests shows 58 patients have been waiting for more than three years. Four of them have been waiting for at least four years
Image: Huddersfield Examiner)
So far, official NHS England data on treatment backlogs have only revealed 24,000 patients have been waiting “more than two years”.
But data released by 60 NHS trusts following Freedom of Information requests shows 58 patients have been waiting for more than three years. Four of them have been waiting for at least four years.
The actual number of those waiting many years is much higher, as 65 more acute non-specialist trusts refused to respond.
Four of the five known worst-performing trusts refused to provide the requested data on wait times longer than three or four years.
The waiting list in England was at a record 4.4million even before the pandemic, following a record NHS funding shortage. There are now 6.1 million.
Patients and campaign groups have described the devastating toll of living in agony as they wait years to find out when they will be seen by a hospital specialist after being referred by their GP.
More than a quarter of the longest waiters are in line for trauma or orthopedic care, which includes hip and knee replacements.
The charity Versus arthritis urged the NHS to routinely release the data.
Political leader Tracey Loftis said: “Hundreds of thousands of people with arthritis are waiting for treatment with increasing pain, mobility and reduced quality of life.
“Because longer wait times increase the likelihood of complications, waiting several years for surgery is totally unacceptable.
“The NHS needs to start publishing how long people wait for treatment over two years and report separately on wait times for hip and knee replacements, one of the hardest-hit specialties in planned care. It is imperative that progress is made in reducing the backlog of people awaiting these operations.”
A patient in Milton Keynes waited 239 weeks (four years and five months) for treatment by the Department of Endocrinology.
Another patient had been in pain for 104 weeks awaiting treatment by the Frimley Health NHS Trust pain management service.
Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, told the news agency: “It is shocking that people have been waiting for scheduled NHS hospital treatment for years.
“Waiting in limbo for a scheduled hip, hernia, or ear surgery can cause real emotional and physical distress.”
Feryal Clark, Labor shadow health secretary, said: “We entered the pandemic with record waiting lists thanks to a decade of Tory mismanagement of our NHS.”
A spokesman for NHS England said: “NHS staff are working flat out to clear the backlogs that have inevitably built up during the pandemic, with local teams taking innovative approaches to reducing waiting times such as one-stop shops and Super Saturdays as we continue to do so you will see busy emergency services and high numbers of Covid patients in hospital.
“The NHS is expecting a busy Easter weekend for its staff across the country and we continue to urge people to get in touch for the care they need and use NHS 111 online if possible.
“The NHS is here for you.”
- A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the longest wait was in West Suffolk, where a patient waited 300 weeks, almost six years, to be treated by an ear, nose and throat specialist. The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has never had a patient wait 300 weeks. The longest time a patient waited to start treatment after referral was 172 weeks.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/patients-forced-wait-up-six-26705962 Patients will have to wait up to four years for hospital care as the NHS tackles the backlog