Waiting time apology from Romford hospital chief

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queen’s and King George hospitals

Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Queens and King George hospitals - Credit: Archant

Queen’s Hospital chief has apologised to patients after figures revealed a 1,000 people had waited more than a year for treatment.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) said “urgent action” was being taken to address the problem and provide high quality and accessible care to patients.

His apology came after minutes of last week’s trust board meeting revealed 1,015 patients have been waiting since January 2015 to receive care.

The figure was presented following an internal review.

Patients who have waited more than a year are now being contacted by telephone or letter and offered appointments in the coming weeks.

Mr Hopkins added: “It is crucial that patients are seen as quickly as possible and we are sorry that a lot of patients are waiting too long for treatment.

“We have significantly reduced the backlog of patients who have been waiting by putting on extra clinics to see and treat the people who had been waiting too long, but we know there is a much more to do.

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“This year (2015/2016) we will have provided 520,000 outpatient appointments – 25,000 more than last year and are committed to meeting the waiting time standard by the end of 2016/17.”

BHRUT has not been regularly publishing its waiting times since April 2014 when its recording system was found to be flawed.

In 2013 BHRUT was placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Following an inspection last year the health watchdog decided the trust should remain in special measures despite having made significant improvements.

Earlier this year, Mr Hopkins told the Recorder he was hoping the trust will leave special measures before the end of the year and was confident there will be progress made on waiting times.