A PATIENT had to wait eight months for surgery because an NHS bungle meant he was not added the waiting list.

The patient who has not been named should have been put on the list for surgery on July 14 last year.

But red-faced bosses only spotted their mistake when the puzzled man rang the hospital and asked when he would be seen.

The patient, who lives within the Blackburn with Darwen borough, was finally added to the list for surgery in March this year and treated on March 18.

No further details of the patient or whether his condition was life-threatening have been released.

Today a patients' watchdog said the error must not happen again but said it showed people were too willing to accept long delays.

Chris Simms, divisional director for surgery at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said action had been taken to ensure such a mistake did not happen again.

He said: "As soon as it was realised an error had been made which meant that a patient was not listed for routine surgery, the Trust undertook a full investigation to determine the reasons behind the mistake.

"A number of actions have been taken to improve our administrative systems and minimise the risk of this happening again."

Bosses have since conducted an "urgent" review of how referrals to hospital are added to the Trust's computer system and urged a "fail safe" procedure for listing patients.

The mistake meant the Trust missed one of its key targets to ensure no patient was waiting longer than six months for surgery. No other patient waited longer than six months between April 2005 March this year.

John Amos, vice-chairman of the Patient and Public Involvement Forum which oversees the Trust, said: "People have got so used to having long waits, they think it is the norm and they don't realise they have slipped out of the system.

"You hope the systems are perfect but the reality is they never are."