Record waiting lists continues to rise as Trust struggles to get back to normal

Woman jailed for assaulting hospital staff
Tunbridge Wells Hospital

According to figures released by NHS England last week, the waiting list for treatments at Tunbridge Wells Hospital and its sister site in Maidstone increase from 38,715 in March to 40,636 in April – a rise of 1,921 patients – the highest recorded since records began in 2007.

It comes amid a backdrop of record waiting lists across England with a total of 6.5 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of April, up from 6.4 million in March.

While cancer and life-threatening procedures continued in the Covid-19 crisis, many non-emergency treatments had to be cancelled and postponed, leading to record waiting list rises.

While the waiting list at MTW did fall slightly in February, when there were 37,775 people waiting compared to 38,441 in January, April’s figures show the largest month on month rise in the waiting lists since all restrictions were lifted following the Covid pandemic last year.

At MTW, some of the longest waiting lists are for Ophthalmology (eye treatments), which stood at 7,389 in April, up from 7,310 in March.

General surgery, which includes treatments such as hip and knee operations stood at 4,592 in April up from 4,436 patients in March.

The average wait for non-emergency treatment at MTW is now around 11 weeks, and around 69.8 per cent of patients are seen within the government’s 18 weeks, although the government target is 92 per cent.

However, zero patients have been waiting more than a year for treatment at either the Maidstone hospital or the Pembury based facility.

A spokesperson for MTW said: “Our staff have worked hard to clear the backlogs that have built 

up during the pandemic and despite seeing a significant increase in referrals, we have continued to maintain our position of no patients waiting for surgery over 52 weeks and caring for our most clinically urgent patients.

“After continuing cancer treatment throughout the pandemic and seeing unprecedented admissions within our emergency departments, the Trust are now also increasing the number of outpatient appointments over the next year to ensure we provide timely care. We continue to urge people to come forward for the care they need, using NHS 111 online where appropriate.”

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