Crawley GP appeals to patients for ‘understanding’ on waiting times

A doctor has appealed for ‘a bit of understanding’ about hospital waiting times as exhausted staff attempt to get things back on track while still dealing with all things Covid.

Crawley GP Laura Hill
Crawley GP Laura Hill

Southgate GP Dr Laura Hill made the plea during Crawley Question Time, which was held online last week.

Responding to a question from a patient who wondered how long he would have to wait for a hip replacement, Dr Hill said medical staff were ‘absolutely committed to getting things back on track’.

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She added: “Our staff are really tired, much like any other key workers, so a little bit of understanding as we try to both give energy to the vaccination programme, continue to respond to the pandemic – we do still have poorly patients in hospital, though thankfully not as many – give our clinicians a rest so that we can get back on it.

“And we will. We’ll catch up and get back to a better than normal normality hopefully. Fingers crossed.”

Dr Hill, who serves as clinical chair at the NHS West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said some 760,000 vaccines had been administered across the county since just before Christmas.

She added that, while Crawley was hit ‘pretty hard’ during the last wave of the pandemic, Covid cases were tailing off and staff were working  ‘with fervour and energy to catch up some of these waiting lists’.

Pennie Ford, the CCG’s executive managing director, acknowledged that waiting times had risen both for out-patients and for those needing surgery.

She told the meeting that medical teams had done their utmost to keep cancer services and primary care services going while doing as much as possible for out patients.

Cases are being seen based on their clinical priority – emergency cases, followed by urgent cases and then the less urgent.

With the case list being reviewed constantly, both Dr Hill and Ms Ford urged people to get in touch with their GP or hospital if their symptoms changed or became more serious.