Patients face two-year wait29th December 2006
A new report into NHS waiting times has revealed some patients are waiting up to two years for orthopaedic operations including hip replacements.
The government wants all patients to be seen and treated within 18 weeks, but figures on the Health Service performance show there is still a long way to go.
Orthopaedic patients face longer waits than other specialties – on average around 40 weeks. The average across all specialties is 30 weeks.
Almost a quarter of patients wait longer than 12 months for surgery after being referred by their GP. For three per cent, the delay is double that.
Currently more than a third of patients waiting for inpatient treatment and surgery hit the target, but in trauma and orthopaedics, the figure is below 20 per cent.
The figure is much higher for patients who did not need admission. Estimates for 2005 show around 80 per cent of patients were treated within 18 weeks.
The government has admitted the target is a ‘major challenge’ but said their policy to offer patients a choice of where they were treated was key to achieving the target.
Currently, less than half of patients are being offered a choice of hospitals.
Clinical leaders say the answer lies in increasing NHS capacity and not relying more heavily on the often more expensive private sector.
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Title: Patients face two-year wait
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 1549
Date Added: 29th Dec 2006