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Missing patients discovered

There are many unanswered questions about long-waiters on elective pathways in the wake of HSJ’s revelation that hundreds of patients waiting more than a year for treatment have not been included in national statistics, here are some of them:

How many patients treated in 2015-16 waited more than a year?

How many still on the waiting lists have waited more than a year? (We know there are roughly 700 from the trusts that report, HSJ has established half that number again, but what about the rest?).

We know CCGs and NHS Improvement have been receiving updates on long-waiters (it knew about Barking’s 1,015 in January, before the figure slipped out this month) – why haven’t they made these public?

Are trusts going to get the £5,000 fine for each one?

How much has been spent with private providers to take care of this backlog? Someone in Wellington House will know. It would be even more of a story if they don’t.

We’ve already seen some reluctance from NHS Improvement on this, when Jim Mackey says the organisation is going to be as transparent as possible.

All this will come out with some patient FoI-ing, so why not be a bit more open?

More interesting than all that though, what has driven the increase in long waiters?

The NHSI ideas factory

NHS Improvement has brought together two panels composed of 47 chairs and chief executives from NHS trusts to give it advice on improving patient experience.

The panels will meet every few months and will provide NHS Improvement with feedback on what is working well in their own trusts, while advising the organisation on new policies and proposals.

The chief executives panel has 18 members, while the chairs group has a whopping 29 - including the chair of the CQC, Peter Wyman.

Other notable names include Peter Homa from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, Anthony Marsh from West Midlands Ambulance Service, Claire Murdoch at Central and North West London, King’s College Hospital FT chair Lord Kerslake, and Jacqui Smith of University Hospitals Birmingham and Heart of England FT.

NHS Improvement boss Jim Mackey said the panels were created “to share their experiences and make sure that when NHS Improvement decides something it will have the support of the people whose organisations will need to implement it”.

HSJ readers were cautious about the development: “Some good people on there. Let’s hope it works.”