Medical test delays hit record high as coronavirus impact felt in Shropshire

Record delays for a number of medical tests, including scans, have been recorded on trusts serving the county.

The numbers reflect the national struggle to keep services running during the closure, when hospitals faced a major challenge in dealing with coronavirus victims while protecting other patients and staff.

Medical experts have warned that growing waiting lists could cause problems in the coming months as the blockage subsides and referrals increase – with huge challenges for healthcare.

NHS trusts provide information on how long employees have waited for 15 key tests at the end of each month. The procedures are used to diagnose a wide range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, heart failure, sleep disorders, and hearing problems. According to the NHS rules, an exam should be conducted within six weeks when someone is referred for a test.

However, the latest data from NHS England for May show that more than 8,000 patients cared for by the county trusts had waited longer this month.

Of those who were not seen in time, 3,016 were on lists for at least 13 weeks.

The Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, which operates the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital of Telford, held 7,230 people or 74.9 percent of the waiting lists.

The most common test delay at the Trust in May was an ultrasound. According to figures, 2,440 people had waited for at least six weeks. This was followed by 1,980 patients who were waiting for an MRI. Another 942 were waiting for a CT scan.

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt's (RJAH) orthopedic hospital near Oswestry made 717 wait, or 79.8 percent of the waiting lists. And of those who were not seen in time, 208 were on the list for at least 13 weeks. The most common type of test to determine delays in the orthopedic hospital was an MRI scan, with 760 waiting for at least six weeks.

This was followed by 215 patients waiting for an ultrasound. Another 162 people were stopped for a CT scan.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust had 234 or 79.3 percent of those on the waiting list. Of those who were not seen in time, 48 were on the list for at least 13 weeks. The most common type of test to determine delays was audiology. 229 people waited at least six weeks. There were also seven patients waiting for an ultrasound.

All trusts performed worst since comparable local records started in 2014. The national standard is that less than one percent of patients should wait six weeks or more.

"We do everything we can."

Hospital chiefs say patients have not been forgotten and the county NHS has done its best to restore more medical testing services as pressure on Covid-19 eases.

New numbers released this month by NHS England show that trusts serving the county, including some Powys patients, have had record delays in a number of tests, including scans. The data show that more than 8,181 patients had waited longer than at the end of May.

Dave Evans, co-responsible for the clinical order groups of NHS Shropshire and NHS Telford and Wrekin, said: "All NHS organizations and the two councils in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are working closely together to bring some of the temporarily stopped services back online, changed or relocated after the outbreak of Covid-19.

David Evans of the NHS Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group in Halesfield, Telford

“At the beginning of the pandemic, services such as local hospitals, general practitioners, health visitors and social workers responded quickly by changing the way they work to ensure people's safety. This meant that the waiting lists for all subject areas inevitably increased.

“We are restoring more and more services every week, but the corona virus has not gone. Therefore, this is done carefully, with the safety of our patients and employees in the foreground. We have worked hard to maintain important services such as cancer treatment, but have realized that people have waited longer than we would have liked to receive elective treatment.

"Although some services are being restored to what they were before the outbreak, we cannot turn them back on immediately, and we hope that people will understand why and what to do with us. Further health and care services will continue to be restored. " The affected patients will be contacted directly in the coming weeks.

“We know that some people are feeling anxious and concerned right now, but we are doing everything we can and we want to assure you that you have not been forgotten. We would like to thank the locals for their continued patience and understanding in this challenging time. "

Other trusts in neighboring Staffordshire, Black Country and Birmingham have also had record delays in tens of thousands of patients.

A total of 11,296 patients had to wait more than six weeks in the university clinics of the North Midlands NHS Trust, which operates the Stafford & # 39; s County Hospital. There were 66 percent of the waiting lists.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust still had 6,053 or 65.2 percent. The Dudley Group's NHS Foundation Trust kept 2,188 people waiting, 39.7 percent. The NHS Trust in Sandwell and West Birmingham had 8,293 patients on hold, or 63.6 percent of the waiting list.

Watchdog Healthwatch England national director Imelda Redmond said the numbers are not surprising as limited resources need to be focused on fighting Covid-19.

"However, the rise in numbers clearly shows the challenge the NHS faces," she said. "It is therefore important that the NHS prioritize those with the most pressing and serious needs, as well as those who have been waiting for a diagnosis for a long time."

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