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Hospitals getting busier month by month

PUBLISHED: 20:58 19 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

BRITISH hospitals, including Ipswich, are getting busier every month, according to new figures which reveal the extent of the stretched NHS.

Across the country, the number of people waiting to be admitted to hospital is increasing by 10,000 a month.

By Tracey Sparling

BRITISH hospitals, including Ipswich, are getting busier every month, according to new figures which reveal the extent of the stretched NHS.

Across the country, the number of people waiting to be admitted to hospital is increasing by 10,000 a month. It rose 19,400 between April and June, according to the Department of Health.

And at Ipswich, there were enough emergency admissions alone, during July, to fill the beds on 70 wards - yet there are only 34 wards on the entire site!

Medical director Ian Scott revealed the startling statistic as he recalled a month when the hospital treated 23,300 outpatients, 2,694 planned inpatients and day cases, 4,782 A&E attenders, and 1,995 emergency admissions.

There were also 27 elderly people blocking hospital beds because no alternative care was available or they were waiting for an assessment, who fill the equivalent of nearly another whole ward.

Mr Scott said the demand on services meant waiting times had been adversely affected.

The number of outpatients waiting more than 13 weeks now totals 2,084 which is an increase of 65 during the month and 250 since May. That includes 422 who have waited more than 21 weeks, and the hospital must have none waiting that long by February.

Eighty per cent of patients waited less than 13 weeks, which beats the hospital's target of 90pc.

Mr Scott said orthopaedic waiting times were at risk, because the hospital's bid for funding to get patients treated at other hospitals has still not been approved.

Acting chief executive Chris Dooley said: "There is potential for us to treat these patients in-house between now and the end of the financial year. That will increase our strategic cost. I am prepared to do that but I am not going to overspend to do it."

Mr Scott said waiting times for cancer patients did not meet national targets, with only half the suspected skin cancer cases seen within two weeks of referral by a GP, but he added: "Only 20 per cent of cancers are diagnosed within the two-week wait system. The remaining 80pc, the vast majority, don't come to us that way. Despite the rather poor looking figures, patients are being seen."

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