Hospital waits come down

LONG waits for treatment and surgery at Ipswich Hospital are beginning to decrease despite an increased number of people needing these services.Currently, national targets state that all outpatients should be seen within 17 weeks and all those waiting for an inpatient stay or day surgery within nine months.

LONG waits for treatment and surgery at Ipswich Hospital are beginning to decrease despite an increased number of people needing these services.

Currently, national targets state that all outpatients should be seen within 17 weeks and all those waiting for an inpatient stay or day surgery within nine months.

However, these targets will come down at the end of March to 13 weeks and six months respectively (except orthopaedics, which will come down to seven), so these are the figures the hospital uses to measure its progress.

At the end of November there were 605 patients who had been waiting for longer than 13 weeks for an outpatients appointment, compared to 668 the previous month.

The number of patients waiting between six and eight months for an inpatient stay or day surgery has also decreased from 619 at the end of October to 539 at the end of November.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, said: "We are achieving all of the existing national targets but we are aware we need to plan very carefully to meet the new targets that are being introduced at the end of March.

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"Traditionally the end of the year is a very busy time for us so we should begin to see even more of a reduction in the coming months.

"We are doing absolutely everything we can and will continue to pull out all the stops.

"Obviously we can never predict the levels of emergency admissions and, while we are aware of the importance of the national standards, we have to treat those who need urgent clinical care first."

A report, due to be presented to the hospital trust's board on Friday , shows that the overall number of people waiting for treatment at the hospital has decreased, despite the fact that the number of new patients being added to the waiting list is increasing every month.

The longest waits for outpatients appointments are in the hospital's orthopaedic, oral surgery and dermatology departments, while the longest waits for inpatient stays are in orthopaedics, general surgery and oral surgery.

What do you think of the waiting times at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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