Patients waiting two years for non-urgent treatment at Cornwall hospitals

Credit: ITV

Thousands of people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are stuck on waiting lists for non-urgent treatments with some waiting as long as two years.

The number of people waiting for planned operations and treatment has spiralled in Cornwall since 2020.

Elective and planned care includes procedures which are not considered to be urgent and are planned in advance. They can include hernia repairs, cataract surgery and cosmetic procedures.

Figures shared with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board (ICB) this week show that in March 2020 there were just 49 people waiting 52 weeks for planned care but in September 2022 that had leapt to 4,558.

Similarly whilst in 2020 there were no people waiting 104 weeks – two years – for treatment but in September that had increased to 125.

The figures also show there are 2,150 people who have been waiting for 65 weeks and 838 waiting 78 weeks, in 2020 there were none.

The total number of people waiting for any planned care has increased since 2020 – then there were 35,577 on the waiting list, but in September this year there were 64,126.

The number of people waiting between 18 and 52 weeks has more than tripled – from 7,013 in 2020 to 22,074 in September 2022.

At a meeting of the ICB, which brings together people working across the NHS and in social services at Cornwall Council, members heard about work being done to try and cut the waiting list.

A number of new services have been commissioned or are being planned to help reduce waiting times and improve the situation for patients.

These include a new community diagnostic centre in Bodmin; a community diagnostic centre at West Cornwall Hospital; and an elective surgical hub in Bodmin.

The Bodmin diagnostic centre opened earlier this month and is now able to provide CT scans for patients.

In a report given to the ICB it was stated that around a third of people on the waiting list in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are on the “diagnostic pathway”. Any delays on diagnosis will delay treatment and increase waiting lists.

A presentation stated: “Reducing diagnostic wait times and achieving the 99% standard of tests being conducted within six weeks, will enable clinicians to treat people faster or determine if the patient needs to be on the wait list at all.”

It was also explained that by locating diagnostic centres away from acute sites it will not only increase the number of tests being carried out but will also free up capacity at acute sites for urgent and emergency diagnostics.

Credit: Local Democracy Reporter Service/Richard Whitehouse.