ORTHOPAEDIC consultants at East Lancashire’s hospitals have cleared a large backlog of patients waiting for surgery.

Concerns had been mounting over several months about the number of patients waiting for treatment, with surgeons said to be ‘unwilling’ to take on extra work at the rates being offered.

The number of ‘backlogged’ patients, many of whom were waiting for hip and knee replacements, stood at more than 100 over the winter, against a ‘tolerance level’ of 54, and caused the department to repeatedly miss the 18-week referral to treatment target.

But Dr Ian Stanley, interim executive medical director, said surgeons had completed 710 procedures in a month, against the normal total of about 520.

He said: “The surgeons and management need to be congratulated.

“Most of them have actually done that by giving up their spare time.”

Non-executive director Pete Rowe said there had been some ‘firm’ discussions on the issue.