Concerns as Derby and Burton hospital waiting lists get longer

Officials are concerned that intense work to clear the backlog of Derby and Burton patients waiting more than a year for hospital care is “not sustainable”, with the list rising again.

Around 6,000 patients have been waiting more than a year for care from the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton Hospital Trust.

Normally there would not be a single patient waiting this long for treatment, but the pandemic has flipped that norm on its head.

Staff have been working hard to catch up on as much of the colossal backlog as they can before the winter sets in, with the list now rising again after months of successful decline.

At its height, at the start of the year, more than 10,000 people had been waiting more than a year for care and this had been reduced by more than 40 per cent, falling to 5,619.

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However, the backlog is now rising again, standing at around 6,000, and is set to continue to do so throughout the winter.

The trust estimated earlier this year that the list could peak again at 10,000 in April in a “worst case” scenario and somewhere around 9,000 in a “best case”.

Now it estimates the list will hit more than 7,100 by March.

Meanwhile, there are currently more than 200 people who have been waiting more than two years for hospital care – a list that would also typically be empty.

Trust documents say: “Although the volume of 52-week waiters has reduced significantly there is concern that this is not sustainable with the impact of winter on elective beds and the volume of P2/P3 urgent cases (second and third priority) using circa 40 per cent of current elective capacity.

“There are particular challenges in bariatrics (weight loss) and orthopaedics (bones and joints) for capacity to treat P4 (lower priority) patients with over 500 patients that could become 104-week waiters in orthopaedics.”

The trust has again listed its forecast of when it expects each speciality to have quashed their respective waiting lists.
Dermatology has the earliest estimated recovery with December this year, while upper gastrointestinal surgery has the longest – July 2025, in four years.

Joined Up Care Derbyshire has produced a video explaining the waiting list delays and what to do if your condition worsens.
It can be viewed by clicking here.

Sharon Martin, executive chief operating officer at the trust, wrote in a new report: “The Trust has worked to prioritise its waiting list in order of clinical priority and has restored pre-pandemic clearance times for the most urgent patients requiring surgery within four and 12 weeks.

“It has been acknowledged for some time that a greater proportion of patients are now presenting for surgery with more complex or progressed pathologies than they otherwise would have.

“The pandemic has caused a significant shift, not only in the volumes waiting more than 52 weeks, but also, the type of patients and procedures they are waiting for.

“It is inevitable that a larger number of more vulnerable patients, who are not having regular consultant appointments as part of their pathways, are waiting longer for procedures that would be optimal if delivered in under one year of waiting and where there is a risk of the condition deteriorating during the wait.”

She said the trust is treating patients by order of priority and hopes to “minimise” the number of people who see their conditions “deteriorate” while they are waiting for care.

The trust is writing to all of its waitlist patients “advising them of the increased likelihood of waiting longer for their procedure and informing them of what they need to do to get in touch if they believe their condition is worsening”.

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Courtesy of Derbyshire Live – Derby News