Fewer Wigan patients face long waits for non-urgent care and cancer treatment

Excellent progress
Excellent progress

Fewer Wigan patients face long waits for non-urgent care and cancer treatment, despite concerns about waiting times across the country.

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found while the NHS has increased the number of people it treats each year, the percentage of patients treated within waiting time targets continues to get worse for both non-urgent care and cancer treatment.

It also reported that the waiting list for elective care continues to grow.

But NHS Wigan Borough CCG was named in the report among the 20 best-performing CCGs in the country for the proportion of patients waiting fewer than 18 weeks for elective treatment.

The care standard aims for 92 per cent of patients to be seen by a consultant within that time, which Wigan matched according to data from December.

This was last met nationally in February 2016, with 87.3 per cent seen within 18 weeks in November.

Wigan was just outside the top 20 CCGs based on the percentage of patients meeting the 62-day cancer waiting times standard. The standard that 85 per cent of patients with suspected cancer are treated within that time has not been met nationally since the end of 2013, but Wigan achieved 86.67 per cent between October and December.

Wigan CCG chairmn Dr Tim Dalton said: “Local GP practices and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust work hard to make sure patients from across the borough get access to the treatment they need as quickly as possible.

“It is great to see that the work we have all been doing means that we are amongst the best performing boroughs in the country.

“However, there is always more that can be done and we continue to look for ways to improve the flow of patients through services and reduce waiting times further.”

The report says the elective care waiting list grew from 2.7 to 4.2 million between March 2013 and November 2018, while the number waiting more than 18 weeks grew from 153,000 to 528,000. During this period, the number of people treated each month increased from 1.2 to 1.3 million.