Charities have called on the NHS to do more to support patients awaiting treatment as health services work “flat out” to reduce waiting lists made lengthier by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
NHS Digital statistics show around 1,945 patients needing non-emergency care at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had waited more than a year to be checked into hospital in the year to March following the initial decision to admit them – roughly 7% of admissions. Of those, 375 waited more than 18 months.
The proportion of patients who waited over a year increased from the year before when 3% of patients waited that long.
Nationally, more than 95,000 patients admitted for non-urgent treatment across England in 2020-21 had been waiting for more than a year, up from around 42,000 the year before.
The figures do not include planned admissions where there is a personal or medical reason behind a delay.
The Patients Association charity said patients should be given “honest timescales” for treatment and advice, support and compassion during their time on waiting lists.
Chief executive Rachel Power said: “The NHS must understand the impact on patients when planned care is cancelled or when you’ve no clear idea of when you may get care, and act in response.
“This means clear communication to patients and giving clear expectations about what might happen next.”
A spokesperson for the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are making significant progress on plans to tackle the backlog of care.
“The number of patients waiting 62 days or more for initial cancer treatment is now below 2019 levels, despite the Trust seeing a higher number of referrals each month.
“The number of patients waiting a year or more for any type of treatment reached a peak of 2,500 in February 2021. By the end of June, this number had reduced to 1,488.”
A spokeswoman for the NHS said caring for 450,000 Covid-19 patients in hospital across the country had had an inevitable impact on the health service’s ability to deliver care for less urgent conditions.
She said patients awaiting treatment had been reviewed by clinicians and were supported while on the waiting list.