Rising number of patients waiting for routine treatment at Wigan's hospitals
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NHS England figures show 54,031 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) at the end of June – up from 52,491 in May, and 41,614 in June 2022.
Of those, 3,746 (seven per cent) had been waiting for longer than a year.
The median waiting time from referral at an NHS trust to treatment at WWL was 17 weeks at the end of June – up from 16 weeks in May.
Nationally, 7.6 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of June.
Consultants will strike for two days from August 24, and have threatened to walk out for a further 48 hours on September 19 if the Government continues to “refuse to agree to pay talks”.
Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund think tank, said these strikes are an extra burden on an already stretched health service.
“The longer the strikes go on, the less and less likely it is that the Prime Minister will meet his pledge to reduce waiting lists.
“For the sake of patients, it is imperative that all parties get around the table to resolve this issue. This emphasises how staffing issues make or break almost any target set for the service,” he added.
Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in June – the same as in May.
At WWL, 9,613 patients were waiting for one of 12 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.
Of them, 1,897 (20 per cent) had been waiting for at least six weeks.
Other figures from NHS England show that of 81 patients urgently referred by the NHS who were treated at WWL in June, 60 were receiving cancer treatment within two months of their referral.
A month previously – when 66 patients were referred – 50 were treated within 62 days.
In June 2022, 59 patients were treated within this period, out of 78 that were referred.
The Royal College of Nursing warned the health service “is falling into a deeper crisis”.
Chief nursing officer Nicola Range said: “A decade of under-investment in the NHS has led to dire consequences for patients and pushed many nursing staff out of the profession they love and with unrelenting pressure on those who remain.”
Prof Julian Redhead, NHS England's national clinical director for urgent and emergency care, said: “Today’s data is a reminder of the significant pressure on staff with this summer currently on trajectory to be the busiest in NHS history, all while industrial action continues to disrupt services.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are making progress to deliver on our priority to cut waiting lists and ensure people get the care they need quicker.”
“We have virtually eliminated 18-month waits and are taking action to bring down waits of over a year – including reducing the number of people requiring follow-up appointments,” they added.