Hospital confident it can clear two-year waiting list by end of month

Norfolk and Norwich Unviersity Hosptial chief operating officer Chris Cobb. Picture: NNUH

Norfolk and Norwich Unviersity Hosptial chief operating officer Chris Cobb. Picture: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

Leaders at the largest hospital in Norfolk are confident its list of patients waiting more than two years for treatment will be cleared by the end of the month.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been working through a backlog of thousands of patients awaiting various treatments.

At the beginning of October, almost 8,000 people had been waiting more than 104 weeks for procedures such as hip replacements, cataract surgery and hysterectomies.

The figure is now down to 392 and Chris Cobb, the hospital's chief operating officer, said he was confident the backlog would be gone entirely by the end of June.

However, he told a meeting of the hospital board of directors that the focus on clearing the 104-week waiting list had seen knock-on effects on those who have been waiting shorter time periods.

"We are now in a good position and everybody has a solution to be seen," he said.

Part of the efforts to clear the backlog have seen patients taken for treatment at hospitals further afield, including Grantham, Luton and Dunstable and Stevenage.

Most Read

The hospital currently has more than 23,000 patients who are at risk of not completing their treatment within 18 months.

It also has more than 10,000 patients who have been waiting more than a year for their treatment.

And while both of these figures are in decline, the efforts to reduce the two-year waiting list have seen this reduction slow.

Meanwhile, Mr Cobb explained how continuing pressures on the hospital's emergency department and wards had also hampered efforts to reduce waiting lists.

He said: "This week, the three hospital trusts in Norfolk have really been struggling and this is not something we will find our way out of quickly.

"Trauma work in our theatres was so high at the weekend that we had to cancel some elective surgeries.

"We also recently had 17 patients turn up not ready for surgeries and another had to be cancelled because it required two ear, nose and throat surgeons to be present and one of them had Covid."

The board also heard how 26 out of 31 of its patients on its Elsing ward, which cares for elderly inpatients, had tested positive for Covid-19.