United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust patients waiting 17 weeks for treatment

Patients were waiting an average of 17 weeks for routine treatment at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust in February, figures show.

Embargoed to 0001 Monday January 24 File photo dated 03/10/14 of an NHS hospital ward. Health unions are calling for an inflation-busting pay rise to tackle the NHS staffing crisis and increasing waiting times for treatment. Issue date: Monday January 24, 2022.
Embargoed to 0001 Monday January 24 File photo dated 03/10/14 of an NHS hospital ward. Health unions are calling for an inflation-busting pay rise to tackle the NHS staffing crisis and increasing waiting times for treatment. Issue date: Monday January 24, 2022.

Patients were waiting an average of 17 weeks for routine treatment at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust in February, figures show.

The King's Fund think tank said another national record for the number of people on hospital waiting lists shows the strain on the NHS is reaching “unacceptable levels”.

Sign up to our daily LincolnshireWorld Today newsletter

NHS England figures show the median waiting time for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was 17 weeks at the end of February – the same as in January.

This was also unchanged from the average wait a year previously.

There were 63,675 patients on the waiting list in February – up from 61,219 in January, and 39,366 in February 2021.

Of those, 3,317 had been waiting for longer than two years.

Nationally, 6.2 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February.

This is up from 6.1 million in January and the highest number since records began in August 2007.

But the figures also show that while the overall waiting list has continued to grow, the number of people waiting more than a year and two years have both fallen.

Danielle Jefferies, analyst at The King’s Fund, said the latest national figures show pressures are now reaching “unacceptable levels” in all parts of the health and care system.

She added: “A&E departments remain full of patients in need of urgent care, and separate data shows a similar story in general practice and social care.

“In March, 22,500 people waited over 12 hours to be admitted to hospital from A&E – a more than thirty-fold increase compared to a year ago."

Separate figures show 1.5 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in February – the same as in January.

At United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, 17,886 patients were waiting for one of 12 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.

Of them, 6,277 (35%) had been waiting for at least six weeks.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there are 20,000 medically-fit patients who cannot be discharged due to pressures on social care."

“Trusts are also grappling with the ongoing impact of Covid-19," he added.

"That’s meant more patients with Covid-19 in hospital beds, more staff off work with Covid-19, and more delayed discharges than anyone was expecting or had predicted.”

Other figures show cancer patients at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust are not being seen quickly enough.

The NHS states 85% of cancer patients urgently referred by a GP should start treatment within 62 days.

But NHS England data shows just 57% of patients received cancer treatment within two months of an urgent referral at United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust in February.

That was up from both 40%in January, and 55% in February 2021 last year.

NHS England national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Nobody should be under any illusion about how tough a job NHS staff have on their hands, balancing competing priorities and maintaining high quality patient care.

“Despite pressure on various fronts and the busiest winter ever for the NHS, long waits fell as staff continue to tackle two-year waits by July thanks to the innovative approaches to care they are now adopting."