Hospitals’ waiting lists fall to just three patients

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THE number of patients waiting long-term for hospital procedures in Sheffield has plummeted from more than 1,000 to just three within months.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was last year picked out by the Department of Health as one of the worst-performing health trusts in the country for its long-term waiting list, with 1,162 patients waiting more than a year for procedures in September.

But the latest government report, for last December, reduce the number to just 12 - making the trust one of the best in the country for its performance.

And the hospitals say that figure has now fallen even further, to just three.

Bosses at Shefffield Teaching Hospitals - who run the Northern General, Hallamshire, Weston Park, Jessop Wing and Charles Clifford hospitals - said previous numbers were inaccurate, blaming a long-term IT problem which has now been fixed.

Professor Hilary Chapman, chief nurse and chief operating Officer, said: “Our staff work hard to keep waiting times as low as possible for our patients and indeed the majority of our non emergency patients have their outpatient appointment, diagnosis and operation within 18 weeks of their GP referral.

“It is for this reason we were disappointed the figures released at the end of last year gave an unfair reflection of this hard work.

“We are very proud of our performance and it’s good to now see the trust’s figures correctly updated.

“Of course, even after the figures were updated there are still a very small number of patients who do wait longer but this can be for a number of reasons, including the patient opting to delay their treatment, postponement of procedures due to unforeseen events such as other clinical conditions which need to be treated first or the patient not being well enough to undergo surgery.”