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East Lancashire hospitals fail to meet operation waiting time targets
3:45pm Saturday 30th June 2012 in Health
HOSPITALS in East Lancashire failed to hit 18-week waiting times for operations last month.
In May, the East Lancashire NHS Hospitals NHS Trust carried out surgery for 88 per cent of admitted patients within 18 weeks, against a government target of 90 per cent.
An admitted patient is someone who has been deemed as needing surgery or a proceedure, rather than a non-admitted patient who may have been seen in outpatients and did not need further help.
Health chiefs discussed the problem at a trust board the meeting this week, and said the cause was due to operation activity being “above contracted capacity”.
Deputy chief executive Lynn Wissett said: “The 18 week missed target is something we forecast for quarter one. In April it was 91 per cent, but in May it was 88 per cent, and if you miss any one month in a quarter, you fail for the whole quarter.”
Bosses said admitted backlog levels have reduced across all specialities from over 650 in February to 270 in mid-June, but there were still concerns about the following specialities: - general surgery with a backlog of 74 against a threshold of 59 - trauma and orthopaedics with a backlog of 75 against a threshold of 55 - oral surgery with a backlog of 52 against a threshold of 32 - chronic pain with a backlog of 19 against a threshold of 11.
Val Bertenshaw, director of operations, said: “I can reassure you that we are on track to hit 90 per cent for quarter two, and we’ve already hit it for June.
“Of the specialities that have a backlog, three out of four are not below the required threshold, with the exception of oral surgery.
She added: “The level of activity for general and orthopedic surgery continues to be above contracted capacity, and this is storing up the potential for problems in the future.
“There is no particular pattern, disease or condition causing the increase. It’s unusual when compared to other health authorities who are blacklining or seeing a reduction in numbers.”
Liz Sedgely, non-executive director, said: “We need to talk to local commissioners about this increasing activity to see if it’s going to be long term, and if we need to increase capacity.”
Jonathan Wood, director of finance, said that the Trust had to have an understanding of a growing older population, of the current birth rate for the area.