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Norwich hospital facing 'immense pressure' with 10,000-patient backlog

PUBLISHED: 14:58 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 30 November 2019

A Norfolk hospital is under immense pressure as long waiting lists push services to unrecoverable positions and complaints rise by 40pc. Photo: Archant

A Norfolk hospital is under immense pressure as long waiting lists push services to unrecoverable positions and complaints rise by 40pc. Photo: Archant

Archant © 2018

A Norfolk hospital is under "immense pressure" as long waiting lists push services to "unrecoverable positions" and complaints rise by 40pc.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is battling a waiting list of more than 46,000 people and a backlog of almost 10,000 patients.

Dr Geraldine O'Sullivan, chairman of the quality and safety committee, told the board at a meeting held on Friday, November 29: "The hospital is under immense pressure."

She said during a visit to A&E, "there were lots of ambulances waiting, it was really full".

And she added: "The knock-on effects of that is on our elective procedures. We've had lots of cancellations and that feeds into our complaints. We've had a significant increase in complaints in the past month.

"I think it's the highest we've had in a very, very long time.

"That relates to people waiting in A&E and having cancellations."

A report presented to the board showed people complained to the NNUH a total of 133 times in October 2019, compared to 95 times in October 2018 - a 40pc rise.

READ MORE: Hospital warns of growing waiting lists as it goes £20m in the red

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And chief nurse Nancy Fontaine said: "Each department and division is responsible for reviewing complaints and making improvements where necessary."

Meanwhile, chief operating officer Chris Cobb told the board the overall waiting list had increased for the ninth month in a row - with 46,257 people now waiting for treatment. The hospital's backlog of 9,288 people has also increased for the fifth month in a row.

"We've been recording 102pc occupancy which clearly isn't the way any hospital should be doing business," he said.

"We are now very, very full. We're starting the day with 60 patients in cubicles in A&E.

"We had our worst day on Monday when we were 206 beds short accommodating everyone."

Mr Cobb's report to the board, also found two patients waited more than 52 weeks - in vascular surgery and orthopaedics, and said: "Waiting list increases are pushing services to theoretically unrecoverable positions.

"Orthopaedics and gynaecology are consistently the worst-performing services."

The growing lists are blamed on operations being cancelled due to lack of capacity and high demand.

A hospital spokesperson previously said cancellations were for "non-urgent" operations, and would be done in the next year.

READ MORE: Hospital warns of growing waiting lists as it goes £20m in the red

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