Moves to clear East Lancs hospitals' waiting lists
10:40am Sunday 1st September 2013 in News
‘BACKLOGGED’ surgery patients in East Lancashire could face a trip to Wigan as hospital chiefs bid to reduce their waiting lists.
Several departments at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospital have missed a key waiting time performance target over the summer, due to a large backlog of patients.
Dozens of the non-urgent patients breached the 18-week waiting target in July, which has resulted in financial penalties totalling £20,000.
The swelled waiting list was caused by a surge in patients over the winter, which resulted in about 400 non-urgent operations being cancelled.
Several measures have been agreed to tackle the problem, including an approach to Writhtington NHS hospital, in Wigan about the possibility of subcontracting some trauma and orthopaedic work.
The waiting target means at least 90 per cent of patients should start their treatment within 18 weeks of being referred.
* Ear, nose and throat has a backlog of 65 patients, against a ‘tolerance level’ of 22. More than half of these patients are children. Performance was 84 per cent in July.
* Trauma and orthopaedics has a backlog of 85 patients, including 24 needing complex lower limb surgery from a specific consultant. Performance was 89.6 per cent.
* Oral and maxillofacial surgery has a backlog of 78 patients and performance was 84.5 per cent.
* The chronic pain service has successfully reduced its backlog but still fell just below the 18-week standard.
According to hospital board papers, clinicians in maxillofacial surgery and trauma and orthopaedics are ‘unwilling to currently undertake additional activity at the current capacity payment rate’.
Gill Simpson, divisional general manager for surgery at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the delays in treatment had resulted in financial penalties from clinical commissioning groups, which manage NHS budgets.
She told board members on Wednesday: “It’s given me some concern as to why we’ve still got these backlogs. I would have expected to clear them by now.”
Bosses have drawn up detailed plans to reduce the waiting lists, including opening extra wards in September and October, transferring patients to different consultants where agreed, and reviewing theatre lists to ensure capacity is maximised.
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