Thousands waiting for hospital treatment due to delays caused by pandemic

Thousands of patients on waiting list for treatment with the NHS trust that oversees Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Thousands of patients on waiting list for treatment with the NHS trust that oversees Hinchingbrooke Hospital. - Credit: NWAFT

More than 33,000 people are on a waiting list for treatment with the NHS trust that oversees Hinchingbrooke Hospital after services were delayed due to the pandemic. 

The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust (NWAFT) has a waiting list of 33,319 as of February 2021, NHS statistics have revealed. 

Around 3430 people have been waiting for more than a year to be treated across the trust’s three sites - Hinchingbrooke, Peterborough City and Stamford. 

However, 64.5 per cent of patients have started treatment within 18 weeks of referral to one of the hospital’s - which currently sits in line with the national average. 

It comes as hospital waiting times are at a record high in England – putting the NHS under huge pressure. 

Dr Kanchan Rege, chief medical officer of NWAFT, said the majority of their services are now open but the pause due to Covid-19 means waiting times have increased. 

In a message to patients, Dr Rege said: "We understand that delays in treatment causes stress and anxiety for patients and their relatives.

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"Please be assured that we are working through this backlog as quickly as we can, prioritising those who are clinically urgent. 

"We are sending letters out to patients waiting for treatment explaining what to do if they are worried about their condition or if their symptoms have got worse. 

"Thank you for bearing with us during this challenging time." 

Independent health and social group Healthwatch is calling for people from across Cambridgeshire to share their views on how they are coping with the delays. 

A spokesperson for Healthwatch said: “It’s an anxious, unsettling and frustrating time for many local people who are having to wait for non-urgent treatments and procedures as well as appointments and tests. 

“It’s going to take time to restore local services – and deal with the backlog.” 

There are 387,885 people in England who have waited more than 12 months for routine hospital treatment - the highest number since January 2008.  

They include people waiting for operations such as knee and hip surgery. In total, a record 4.7 million people are on a hospital waiting list. 

Take the Healthwatch survey at: https://www.healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk/share-your-views 

Alternatively, call Healthwatch on 0330 355 1285. 

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