Sussex hospital trust is third worst for hospital waiting times nationally - 'Staff are working hard to treat people more quickly'
and live on Freeview channel 276
The trust manages the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton; Worthing Hospital; St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester; the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and Southlands Hospital in Shoreham-by-Sea.
The MailOnline’s interactive feature showed that Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had the highest proportion of patients waiting more than 18 weeks at 60.6 per cent.
Almost six in ten were also waiting at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which logged a proportion of 57.5 per cent.
At University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, some 55.7 per cent were left waiting more than 18 weeks, while the figure stood at 52.8 per cent at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Huw Edwards, managing director for planned care and cancer at the Sussex trust, said: “We have made some progress with our longest waits. In recent weeks we have reduced our total waiting list by more than 2,000 patients and we have plans in place to improve our 65 week waiting lists by March 2024.
“Staff are working hard to treat people more quickly, whilst also managing a significant rise in patients needing both planned and emergency care.
“Despite those increases in demand, we are delivering more care this year compared to 2022/23 and pre-pandemic period.
"We are immensely grateful to our NHS staff for their enormous efforts, and we are continuing to help provide more accessible care to the people of Sussex.”
UHSussex has seen a five per cent rise in planned care referrals alongside a 10 per cent rise in demand for emergency and urgent care compared to last year.
There have been no 104 week waiting time breaches reported for August, September, October.
This comes after NHS England announced that hundreds of thousands of NHS patients – who have been waiting the longest for treatment – will be offered the opportunity to travel to a different hospital, ‘if it means they could be seen sooner’.
It was announced on October 31 that any patient who has been waiting longer than 40 weeks and does not have an appointment within the next eight weeks will be contacted by their hospital via letter, text, or email, as announced by the NHS and government earlier this year.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive said: “Despite pressure and the huge disruption caused by strikes, NHS staff have made great progress in reducing the longest waits for patients – this new step to offer NHS patients who have been waiting the longest the opportunity to consider travelling for treatment is just another example of how we are introducing new approaches to reduce how long patients wait, while improving the choice and control they have over their own care.
“Giving this extra option to these patients also demonstrates the clear benefits of a single national health service, with staff able to share capacity right across the country.
“So, whether a patient’s care moves to the next town or somewhere further away, it is absolutely right that we make the most of available capacity across the country to continue to reduce the backlogs that have inevitably built up due to the pandemic and provide the best possible service for patients.”
Residents have been having their say after we shared the news across our Facebook pages in Sussex that the main hospital trust for our county ranked so highly for long wait times.
One mum wrote: “I’m not surprised. My two-year-old son has been waiting since February to see ENT. It’s a bit of a shambles.”
Another mum said her son waited seven months for an ‘urgent appointment to see a specialist’.
It was claimed that some people were kept waiting ‘nearly two and a half years’ for surgery.
“I’ve been on a wait list for 48 weeks just for an initial appointment, even though numerous referrals were sent as urgent,” another reader wrote.
"I have been suffering for such a long time and still suffering.”
One man said he was kept waiting almost a year for a hospital appointment after a referral from his GP, adding: “The hospital have now cancelled and rescheduled my appointment three times in a row.”
The general consensus among readers was that people ‘should not have to travel out further’.
A comment read: “I don’t think I would feel safe being sent 100 miles away for hospital treatment, never mind the logistics of getting there and back and the cost involved.”