Concerns over patient waiting times at Sheffield hospitals

Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.
Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.
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Long delays for patients are continuing to cause concern at Sheffield’s hospitals, with thousands waiting over five weeks – and two for more than a year – to be treated.

According to the most recent figures, 28,464 people were on the outpatient waiting list at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the end of April - up 2,327 on the previous month.

More than 13,000 of those were waiting more than five weeks, compared with just over 11,530 in March.

The trust also missed its target for the sixth consecutive month to treat 95 per cent of non-admitted patients within 18 weeks.

A report to a meeting of the teaching hospitals’ board of directors said an action plan was in place to ensure 18-week targets are met from October - but some departments are finding this a ‘significant challenge’.

Cardiac services, neurosurgery, neurology and orthopaedics are the areas worst affected.

Two people were waiting for more than 52 weeks for inpatient treatment, the report said.

The first patient has been on the inpatient list since March last year, waiting for treatment for an abnormal heart rhythm.

“A comprehensive review of the waiting lists in cardiac services, both in terms of the patients on the list and the administrative and managerial processes, is already under way,” said the report.

Meanwhile another patient was waiting more than a year to be seen by the oral and plastic surgery departments.

Directors were told the case was ‘a complex one requiring two surgeons’ and that the ‘18-week clock had been stopped incorrectly’.

“As soon as this was discovered the operation was scheduled as soon as possible. The two directorates have now put procedures in place to stop this happening.”

Measures in the action plan include increasing the number of outpatient clinics, providing extra theatre lists and making the case for extra staff.