At the end of March in 2022, there were approximately 6.4 million patients in England awaiting hospital treatment – the largest backlog since these statistics began being recorded back in 2007.
According to the statisics, patients awaiting trauma and orthopaedic care (which includes knee and hip replacements) are being made to wait the longest. There were 731,000 people in England waiting to be treated at the end of March for this – around 55,000 of them had been waiting for over a year.
How many people are awaiting treatment in Chesterfield?
There was a total of 21,824 hospital patients waiting to begin treatment in Chesterfield at the end of March, according to statistics from Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Of these, the type of care with the highest number of patients waiting to receive it was trauma and orthopaedic service, with 2,355 people on the list (which aligns with the national average).
Patients awaiting opthamology treatment (eye and sight care) had the second largest backlog, as 2,297 people were awaiting treatment. Just behind this was ears, nose and throat treatment, which had an accumulated backlog of 2,092 patients.
Perhaps most damning is the statistic that one in 20 patients in Chesterfield who required treatment in a hospital (regarding all kinds of treatment) were being made to wait over 84 weeks before they would be seen to by a professional.
In addition to this, one in 20 patients with ailments that did not require treatment in a hospital (outpatient appointments) were made to wait over 55 weeks before they would receive medical help.
However, it should also be noted that half of all patients had to wait no more than 11 weeks.
Berenice Groves, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, said: “We acknowledge that patients may be waiting longer for care or planned operations as we restore our services to pre pandemic levels and timetables and recognise that this is understandably difficult for anyone with a condition that is causing them pain or disruption to their daily lives.
"We are, however, prioritising people with the highest clinical need and will continue to do all we can to treat people as quickly as possible. We thank our community for their patience and support.”
What do the experts have to say?
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, had this to say on the matter: “We always knew the waiting list would initially continue to grow as more people come forward for care who may have held off during the pandemic, but today’s data show the number of people waiting more than two years has fallen for the second month in a row, and the number waiting more than 18 months has gone down for the first time.
“There is no doubt the NHS still faces pressures, and the latest figures are another reminder of the crucial importance of community and social care, in helping people in hospital leave when they are fit to do so, not just because it is better for them but because it helps free up precious NHS bed space.”
Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, gave a different viewpoint, saying: “All parts of the NHS are unquestionably struggling.
“This is an emergency which needs recognition, action and support on an urgent basis; it cannot afford to join the waiting list being endured by so many patients.”