Of the 171 hospital trusts in the country, University Hospitals Sussex – which includes The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, The Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, Worthing and Southlands Hospitals and St Richard's Hospital in Chichester– has the fifth largest referral to treatment incomplete waiting list, according to the NHS England data.
Of the 101,798 on the list, the data showed 6,197 people had been waiting for more than a year for treatment.
The hospital trust said the high waiting list was partly due to a merger of the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and Western Sussex Hospitals, which meant the waiting lists from both trusts were combined – which were 58,000 and 44,000 respectively. The Covid-19 pandemic had also caused waiting times to increase across the country, the trust said.
Ben Stevens, chief operating officer for University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused waiting times to increase across the country and continues to put the entire health service under more pressure than ever before.
“We know how distressing it is to have to wait for treatment or have a procedure cancelled so we’re doing everything we can to get people seen safely as soon as we possibly can.
“Our doctors, nurses and support staff are working incredibly hard to provide the care patients need, putting on extra clinics and operating sessions to recover our activity levels, as well as working with private hospitals where we can.”
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for the Brighton Kemptown, said: “The doctors, nurses, and other health care staff at University Hospitals Sussex are doing amazing work, trying to see as many people as they can and provide quality care. But there’s only so much they can do after a decade of underfunding and without the staff numbers they need.
“These figures will come as devastating news to the 101,798 waiting for care in our local NHS. The Government are making piecemeal changes to try and fix the problem but without a radical change and significant boost to funding it is going to take years to clear the backlog.”
Mr Russell-Moyle said the pandemic had a devastating effect on an already-fragile NHS, with the national waiting list now 37.7 per cent higher than it was before Covid-19 hit the UK – an increase of over 1.5 million people.
He said the Government had yet to publish its plan to address the vast NHS waiting list, with hospitals around the country already reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high quality care.
Ben Stevens from the hospital trust added: “We will continue to do all we can to reduce waiting times and continue to prioritise those with the most urgent needs. We understand people’s frustrations and are hugely grateful for their patience but would ask everyone to treat our staff with respect as they try to help.”