Half wait too long for elective surgery at Queen’s and King George, trust board reveals
12:48 04 September 2014
A huge backlog of patients awaiting surgery, summer recruitment difficulties and plans to make hospital premises smoke-free were revealed yesterday by the trust that runs Queen’s and King George hospitals.
Nearly 50 per cent of patients referred for elective surgery have had to wait more than 18 weeks, the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust board was told on Wednesday.
Nationally, trusts are expected to ensure no more than 10pc of patients have to wait no longer than 18 weeks, meaning the struggling BHRUT is still missing the target by a significant margin.
Board papers released ahead of the board meeting reveal that - as of August 26, 2014 - 3,938 of the 7,951 patients on the “admitted” waiting list still have not been in for elective surgery.
Some 80 patients have had to wait even longer, over a year, for their treatment - a fall from 148 in June. The NHS Constitution says no patients should have to wait more than 52 weeks.
BHRUT chief executive Matthew Hopkins, who replaced former trust boss Averil Dongworth in April, said the figures were “unacceptable” but stressed he was “absolutely determined that all our patients are seen as quickly as possible”.
He added the trust would be providing extra operations at King George and Queen’s, and intended to meet national standards by “mid-2015”.
In a damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection last year, BHRUT was criticised for its over-reliance on temporary, and therefore more expensive, staff, including nurses.
In Wednesday’s board meeting, nursing director Flo Panel Coates said: “We were looking to be in a better position than we are but August has been a really difficult month.”
She added: “In August we had a higher reliance on temporary staff and that has meant higher costs, but we have done this in response to specific risks.”
Earlier in the meeting, held at King George Hospital in Goodmayes, BHRUT chairman Dr Maureen Dalziel launched the trust’s consultation on making the entirety of its sites smoke-free.
“As a health service dedicated to fighting illness, we do not want to condone an activity which is known to cause disease and early death,” she said.
On Wednesday evening, BHRUT held its annual general meeting, where members of the public got the chance to quiz board members.
Trust bosses spoke candidly about past failings and outlined measures it was taking to improve.
Trust spends £4m on temporary staff in a year to keep Queen’s Hospital A&E running
Queen’s and King George hospital chief: ‘We’re starting to see improvements’
CQC report: Patients are at risk at unsafe King George Hospital A&E