Monthly performance data, published today, show despite ongoing pressures, hardworking teams across London’s NHS continue to recover routine care. While continuing to work through Covid-19 backlogs, the number of patients waiting 52 weeks has reduced by 38% since this time last year.
From Super Saturdays, to high intensity theatre lists where surgeons focus on one type of procedure throughout the day, NHS staff across London have developed innovative ways of working to tackle backlogs that inevitably built up through the pandemic to keep people safe while prioritising those who needed urgent care.
Thanks to ongoing efforts to encourage people to come forward for care, including through the lifesaving Help Us Help You campaign, the capital’s NHS continues to prioritise routine checks, tests and procedures and reduce waiting times.
A collaborative approach has been taken between north east London organisations to work through backlogs, for example over 900 patients from Barts Health received planned endoscopies with the support of neighbouring hospitals run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) between December 2021 and February 2022.
Claire Hogg, recently appointed North East London Director of Planned Care Recovery, said:
“In north east London we are seeing more and more partnership working. At Barts Health, over 500 patients a week are now able to get the scans and diagnostic support they need at neighbouring hospitals as our teams work together to create the best possible outcomes for patients and reduce waiting times.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is dedicating some weekends to focus on particular types of surgery through its high intensity theatre lists – ‘HIT’ lists – meaning they are carrying out three times more operations than they would usually.
The Trust has so far held ten HIT lists, treating over 200 patients across a range of specialities, including gastrointestinal, gynaecology, orthopaedics and ear nose and throat, with the next HIT list scheduled for Saturday 23 April, treating upper gastrointestinal surgeries.
Medical Director for the NHS in London, Dr Jane Fryer, said:
“NHS staff across the capital are consistently adapting ways of working to address the backlogs that accumulated during the pandemic, and the latest figures show that we are making a positive impact in reducing the number of people waiting for care.
“Innovative new approaches are ensuring patients on waiting lists are seen and procedures are carried out as soon as possible. It can be frustrating to be waiting for planned care, but our dedicated staff are doing everything we can to ensure people are treated safely and as soon as possible.”