Massive rise in numbers waiting for surgery in Norfolk - up from 93 to 1,739
PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:56 14 August 2020
The number of patients in Norfolk waiting more than a year for surgery has soared again - up from 954 to 1,739 in the space of one month.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has reported the biggest increase, from 93 in March, when coronavirus began to hit the county, to 1,430 patients in June.
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The hospital had 39 patients waiting over 12 months in February. before the halting of all non-emergency surgery in March,
An NNUH spokesman said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our waiting times for routine procedures and we’d like to thank our patients and their families for their understanding and patience during these unprecedented times.
“The extra safety and infection control measures mean that the volume of planned surgeries will not get back to the levels they were before Covid-19 for some time, particularly if the number of coronavirus cases start to rise again and we need to rezone the hospital.”
Since restarting surgery, the hospital has put in place seven-day working and will continue to increase the number of surgeries with the return of shielding staff. A new orthopaedic surgery service for hand and foot surgery has been set up at Cromer Hospital and procedures are taking place at the Spire Hospital in Norwich.
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The hospital spokesman added: “Our surgical team are making contact with patients on the waiting list. However, if patients feel that their condition has deteriorated, we’d urge them to speak to their GP or get in touch with their consultant.”
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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, had no patients waiting more than a year in March but in June they had 206 and 103 respectively.
Joanne Segasby, chief operating officer for the JPUH, said: “All patients on our waiting list are being clinically reviewed - and urgent cases will be given priority followed by those patients that have waited the longest for their treatment.
“Clearly, the enhanced infection control measures that all hospitals are following has an effect on the number of procedures that can be carried out.
“However, we are working to increase our capacity in several ways. For example, we have re-commissioned an operating theatre which is due to open imminently; we have introduced additional diagnostic endoscopy clinics at weekends and we are looking to increase our diagnostic capacity in the months ahead.”
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