Hospital reopens all operating theatres as waiting lists get longer

Michael Chilvers, medical director at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Michael Chilvers, medical director at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust - Credit: East and North Herts NHS Trust

Additional operating theatres are being opened up at Lister Hospital, as the backlog of patients in need of treatment continues to grow. 

Three of the hospital's operating theatres have had to remain closed in recent months, while medical staff were redeployed to care for patients with COVID-19.

However from May 1 all of the hospital's operating theatres have been back up and running, 'as part of the recovery'.

The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which oversees Lister Hospital, recorded five

Lister Hospital in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

The move was reported to a meeting of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust board, which runs the Lister, on Wednesday, May 5, alongside data on the growing number of patients waiting for treatment.

The data shows that there are now more than 19,000 patients who have been waiting for treatment at the trust's hospitals for more than 18 weeks.

Of these, 3,221 have been waiting in excess of 52 weeks, and in February 21 had been waiting more than 104 weeks. One patient has been waiting for 125 weeks - equivalent to almost two years and five months.

According to national health targets, 92 per cent of patients should be treated within 18 weeks of referral by their GP.

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Data presented to the board also shows that across the country no NHS trust has met the 92 per cent target to treat within 18 weeks. While the national average is 64.5 per cent, that's just slightly higher than the East and North Herts rate of 63.94 per cent.

Meanwhile, the data shows that the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust is meeting most of the national targets relating to 'cancer performance'.

According to the latest cancer performance data, from February, 98 per cent of patients on a 'two week pathway' were seen within 14 days - and all patients with breast symptoms were seen within two weeks.

And 97.8 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer started their treatment within 31 days of diagnosis.

Trust medical director Dr Michael Chilvers said: "As COVID-19 cases continue to fall, we are doing all we can to see and treat people for their planned operations and care as quickly as possible, prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need first.”

With all Lister's theatres now open, the trust is treating around 84 per cent of the usual numbers for 'elective' operations.

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