Rising number of patients waiting for routine treatment from Wigan's hospitals
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NHS England figures show 55,547 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 August – up from 54,909 in July, and 44,125 in August 2022.
Of those, 4,162 (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 18 weeks at the end of August – the same as in July.
Nationally, 7.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of August.
The Nuffield Trust said it was alarmed by the most figures, with chief executive Thea Stein cautioning progress on cutting waiting times had "stagnated".
"Bringing down record waiting times is a central pledge of both main political parties but achieving this task still looks a long way off. It’s an unavoidable truth that whoever takes power at the next election will need to spend more on the NHS and healthcare," she added.
Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in August – the same as in July.
At WWL, 10,760 patients were waiting for one of 14 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time. Of them, 3,496 (32 per cent) had been waiting for at least six weeks.
Other figures from NHS England show that of 90 patients urgently referred by the NHS who were treated at WWL in August, 71 were receiving cancer treatment within two months of their referral. A month previously – when 82 patients were referred – 61 were treated within 62 days.
In August 2022, 57 patients were treated within this period, out of 81 that were referred.
Tim Gardner, assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation, said: "Both major political parties have stressed their resolute commitment to the NHS in recent weeks. However, a national crisis over a decade in the making means that campaign slogans must be matched by concrete plans for improving care, retaining staff, and reforming our neglected social care system.”
Mary Fleming, deputy chief executive at WWL, said: “We understand that delays with appointments or surgery can be frustrating, and we are deeply grateful for the support, understanding and patience from those waiting to be treated.
“We acknowledge that there are still more patients on our waiting lists than we would like as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and cancelled elective operations due to ongoing pressures, including the many rounds of industrial action.
“Despite this, we are making good progress against the national waiting time standard as part of our elective recovery programme, whilst also providing mutual aid for our partners in Greater Manchester, and our performance against national cancer standards are consistently improving.
“We would like to reassure our patients, we are doing everything we can to ensure they are seen as soon as possible, with the most urgent cases being prioritised, and we thank you for your patience.
“However, if you have received a hospital appointment and your symptoms have worsened, we would advise you to go back to your GP or please contact the booking team.”