Patients wait average of 11 weeks for treatment at Northampton General Hospital and Kettering General Hospital as pressure on NHS hits ‘unacceptable levels’

Close to 50,000 in county queue to be seen by end of February

Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 2:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 2:43 pm

Patients were waiting an average of up to 11 weeks for routine hospital treatment in Northamptonshire during February, according to latest NHS England figures.

The King's Fund think tank says another national record for numbers of people on waiting lists shows the strain on the NHS is reaching “unacceptable levels.”

The median waiting time for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at Northampton General Hospital was ten weeks at the end of February, with 26,268 patients on waiting lists – up from 19,724 in February 2021.

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Waiting lists are continuing to grow at NGH and KGH as both hospitals battle Covid pressures

Of those, 61 had been waiting for longer than one year.

A Freedom of Information request to NGH by the Press Association revealed one patient had been waiting one year, 11 months for treatment in the gynaecology department as of the end of January.

At Kettering General Hospital, the median wait time was 11 weeks with 23,474 patients on waiting lists – up from 16,122 in February 2021.

Of those, 24 had been waiting for longer than one year.

Nationally, 6.2 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February, the highest number since records began in 2007.

Danielle Jefferies, analyst at The King’s Fund, said: “A&E departments remain full of patients in need of urgent care and separate data shows a similar story in general practice and social care.

“In March, 22,500 people waited over 12 hours to be admitted from A&E, a more than 30-fold increase compared to a year ago."

Separate figures show 1.5 million patients in England waiting for a key diagnostic test in February.

At NGH, 8,244 patients were waiting for one of 12 standard tests — such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy. Of them, 11 percent had been waiting for at least six weeks.

At KGH, 9,897 patients were waiting for tests, including 23 percent who had been waiting for at least six weeks.

NHS providers chief executive, Chris Hopson, told the BBC thousands of medically-fit patients still cannot be discharged due to pressures on social care.

He added: “Trusts are also grappling with the ongoing impact of Covid-19 — more patients with Covid-19 in hospital beds, more staff off work, and more delayed discharges.”

Other figures from NHS England showed of 89 patients urgently referred at NGH in February, 58 received cancer treatment within two months.

A month previously, when 97 patients were referred, 67 were treated within 62 days. In February last year, 61 patients were treated out of 74 referred.

At KGH, of 68 patients urgently referred in February, 46 had cancer treatment within two months compared to 38 out of 62 in February 2021.

A spokesperson for Northampton and Kettering general hospitals said: “Treating cancer patients quickly has been a top priority for us throughout the pandemic and we have some of the lowest number of patients who have had to wait more than a year for routine treatments in the region, and the country.

"To make further progress on waiting lists we run additional clinics and theatre sessions.

“We are working very hard to address waiting times for routine procedures and diagnostic procedures. But clearly, like all NHS Trusts, this has been impacted over the last two years by the Covid-19 pandemic.”