Interactive map reveals how many weeks patients have to wait


An interactive map today reveals how many weeks patients can expect to wait for routine operations at their local hospital.

NHS guidelines state that patients have a right to undergo a procedure within 18 weeks of being referred by their consultant.

However, the new tool, which uses data from each trust in England, shows a huge disparity in waiting times across the country.

Campaigners have today blasted the figures, which show thousands of patients in the South West and South East are facing waits of up to six months. 

In comparison, those in the North East can expect to be seen by the NHS within 18 weeks, on average, according to the new maps.

Each health board is colour-coded using NHS statistics depending on how long its average delays are for 19 types of referrals.

Red means 8 per cent of patients face waits of 24 weeks or longer, orange is 18-24 weeks, blue is 14-18 weeks and green is anything less.

John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘Despite the huge amount of tax that people pay for public services, waiting times for surgery are still incredibly high.

‘These numbers will upset taxpayers and instead of simply investing more money into a failing system, the NHS needs to radically improve procedures.’

Some 31 trusts have been branded red – meaning 8 per cent of their patients have endured waits of longer than 24 weeks for treatment.

Just three trusts have been coloured green (less than 14 weeks) overall: The Christie, Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership and The Royal Marsden.

The majority of the NHS trusts across England were coloured as either blue (14-18 weeks) or orange (18-24 weeks).

While 10 of the trusts branded red were in London or the South East. A further seven were in the Midlands and four in the South West.

Justin Madders, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, told MailOnline: ‘Under this Government standards of care for NHS patients have gone backwards.

‘The 18 week treatment target has been all but abandoned and now more than 4 million people are on the waiting list for treatment. Experts say it will be 5 million within a couple of years. 

‘We shouldn’t forget that these aren’t just numbers – every one represents a patient waiting too long for treatment because of the failings of this Government. 

‘Ministers ought to sort it out and give the NHS the funding it needs.’ 

Lucy Watson, chair of the Patients Association, said: ‘It’s well known that the NHS is missing the referral-to-treatment waiting time, and will do for a long time to come. 

‘It’s equally well known that this is largely down to political choices to underfund the NHS at a time of rising demand, and mismanagement of its workforce. 

‘We are still waiting for the Government to make serious commitments to addressing these problems, and it is patients who lose out suffering increasing pain, discomfort and loss of independence with every day that passes without that commitment. 

‘It is unacceptable that there is still no solution to this.’

The map breaks down average waits for all operations, as well as delving into the differences across the country for 19 specialist procedures.

The tool, created by GooRoo – data specialists used by the NHS, shows the average waits for heart operations, brain surgery and even cosmetic procedures.

For plastic surgery, just one trust is green – The Christie. The Manchester-based trusts treats roughly 44,000 patients each year.

In contrast, more than half of the health boards are circled red for plastic surgery, which can include breast implants and tummy tucks.

A map of orthopaedic surgeries – operations on bones and joints – is also scattered mainly with red trusts.  

It comes after an investigation in November revealed patients are waiting up to two weeks longer for routine operations than a year ago.

In the worst example, a patient at Derby Teaching Hospitals waited 812 days to have their tonsils out – two years and three months. 

And the average wait for a knee replacement in 2016/17 was 114 days – nearly four months – compared to 100 days in 2015/16. 

For hip replacements, the average wait was 108 days, a rise from 96 days the year before, Freedom of Information Requests showed. 

And in October, NHS figures showed the number of patients waiting too long for routine operations is at its highest level in almost a decade.

More than 400,000 patients had been waiting at least 18 weeks for procedures, including hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery.

This was the highest number since September 2008 and prompted concerned experts to warn that hospitals were going backwards.    



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