Thousands of patients are waiting more than a year for non urgent treatment at York Hospital, figures reveal.
The latest data shows that 2,473 people have been waiting for more than 52 weeks for treatment and 528 patients have now waited for more than a year and a half.
The numbers are actually lower than initially predicted and hospital leaders have praised staff for their efforts to treat patients on the waiting list while the number of Covid inpatients remained high.
Hospital trust chief operating officer Wendy Scott said: “We did forecast that we would have a significant number of long waiters and we are actually below where we forecast ourselves to be.
“We have a process in place to constantly review and reassess those patients so that if they need to be expedited because their condition has deteriorated we are able to do that.
“This is a key priority and there is a piece of work happening called ‘waiting well’ to look at what support and interventions we could possibly offer to these individuals.”
Patients to be sent letters
Wendy said that more procedures will be able to take place this month as the number of Covid patients has fallen.
She added: “This is a real issue for Humber, Coast and Vale Integrated Care System [which includes York], which has one of the worst waiting positions both regionally and nationally.”
The meeting heard there are close to 30,000 patients waiting more than a year for non urgent treatment in the Humber, Coast and Vale ICS – which includes York and Scarborough hospitals as well as the NHS trusts Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, Hull University Teaching Hospitals, Harrogate and District, Humber, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys and Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber.
Dr Steven Holmberg from the board of directors said patients are “managed in the best way possible”.
The meeting heard that all patients get a letter telling them of the likely waiting time for treatment and asking them to contact their GP if their condition gets worse.
Prof Matt Morgan said: “Every single one of these numbers is a real person whose condition is having a real impact on their quality of life and anxiety.
“There is a huge amount that has been going on, despite the third wave, to resume services.”
In the first wave of the pandemic, all but the most urgent procedures were postponed. In January, when the number of Covid patients at the hospital trust hit a peak of more than 240, routine surgery was put on hold and some wards were converted to treat Covid patients.