NHS waits of more than 18 months in the Midlands reduced by over 85%

NHS staff in the Midlands have reduced waits of more than 18 months for scans, surgical procedures and other routine treatment by over 85%, as part of the elective recovery plan to address the longest waiting times for patients.

Despite significant pressures on the NHS, the hard work of staff across the Midlands has seen the total number of patients waiting more than 18 months fall to 2,869, down from a peak of 21,192 in April 2022.

The number of the longest waits in the region has fallen by over 10,000 since January alone, from 13,514.

Of the remaining 18-month waits, one fifth (20%) have either chosen to wait longer or need complex surgeries, such as corneal transplants and spinal surgery.

Across the Midlands the NHS is working hard to reduce the number of unnecessary outpatient appointments, giving patients the power to decide whether they need a check-in and rolling out a variety of measures to cut down on missed appointments.

This progress builds on the success of NHS staff in the region meeting the first elective recovery target, with waits of more than two years virtually eliminated by July last year.

Staff across the Midlands have delivered on slashing the longest waits with the use of surgical hubs, community diagnostic centres, better ‘pre-hab’ to cut recovery times and innovative technology such as surgical robots and safer X-ray scanners.

Regional Medical Director at NHS England Jess Sokolov, said:

“NHS Trusts in the Midlands have significantly reduced the longest waits for care, which ultimately means people who have been in need for longest, are now getting the care they need.

“These figures show that through initiatives such as new elective hubs, dedicated diagnostic centres, and creating additional ward capacity, we are on track to ensure no-one is waiting more than 18 months for elective care.”

Case studies

  • Nottingham University Hospitals trust’s ophthalmology team have doubled the number of cataract operations performed by significantly reducing the turnaround time between patients. They have also created more surgical capacity with 80 additional operating lists, as well as purchasing a third surgical robot allowing patients to have minimally invasive operations.
  • The elective hub at Grantham and District Hospital underwent a £5.3 million expansion last year with two new theatres increasing the available theatre capacity by 50%, allowing the team to see more people and reduce waiting times.
  • The surgical hub at Cannock Chase Hospital mainly focuses on high volume, low complexity surgery across ophthalmology and orthopaedics, bringing together the skills and expertise of staff under one roof with protected facilities and theatres, helping to deliver shorter waits for surgery.