26,000 patients waiting for treatment at Morecambe Bay hospitals

Tens of thousands of patients were waiting for routine treatment at Morecambe Bay hospitals in March, figures show.

By Patrick Jack
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 10:13 am

The Society for Acute Medicine said the latest data shows pressure on the NHS nationally is "unsustainable" and needs urgent action from the Government.

NHS England figures show 26,315 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at University Hospitals Of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust at the end of March – up from 25,680 in February, and 23,942 in March 2021.

Of those, 959 (4%) had been waiting for longer than a year.

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Lancaster Royal Infirmary. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The median waiting time from referral at an NHS Trust to treatment at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay was nine weeks at the end of March – down from 10 weeks in February.

Nationally, 6.4 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of March – the highest number since records began in 2007.

But the number of people waiting more than two years has dropped for the second month in a row.

Separate NHS England figures show that a record 24,138 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England in April, from a decision to admit to actually being admitted.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund think tank, said that unless the Government “grasp the nettle” on health and social care staffing shortages, patients will be left waiting in “discomfort, pain and deteriorating health”.

He added: “The top priority for the NHS is to tackle the longest waits, so it is some comfort to see the number of people waiting over two years for planned care starting to come down.

Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in March – a rise on 1.5 million in February.

At the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, 7,838 patients were waiting for one of 14 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.

Of them, 329 (4%) had been waiting for at least six weeks.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it has provided a record £36 billion over the next three years for the NHS and social care, and launched a plan to tackle the Covid backlog.