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The number of people waiting more than a year for community services has risen sharply, with children the hardest hit, data reveals. 

NHS England figures show the number of community waits of more than 52 weeks rose from 26,800 in April 2023 to 31,509 in January this year (18 per cent).

The number of children waiting over a year jumped even more starkly, from 14,632 to 23,473 in the same time frame — an increase of 60 per cent. It is up from 12,526 (an 87 per cent increase) since January 2023.

The total waiting list for community services grew slightly, from 940,603 to 962,040 between April 2023 and January. 

In February, the total list again topped 1 million and waits of more than a year climbed to 37,620. However, this can be explained at least in part by reporting changes, requiring all community services activity to be recorded in the national community dataset, and not in elective referral to treatment data.

By far the biggest driver of the growth for CYP services are in community paediatrics and particularly diagnosis and treatment of neurological development issues, such as autism and ADHD, where there are large and rapidly growing demand pressures.

Funded to federate

NHSE has awarded an £8.5m contract to consultancy firm KPMG to “promote adoption” of the controversial federated data platform among integrated care boards and trusts.

The contract will run for two years and will see KPMG providing “technical support and implementation services” to the NHS.

The spend comes amid significant cost-cutting measures at NHSE and ICBs, which include cutting management staff numbers.

According to the contract, KPMG should have supported 40 trusts to implement the FDP within nine months of the deal being awarded on 14 March.

NHSE has said it plans for 70 trusts to adopt the platform in its first year, with remaining trusts joining over the following two years.

US firm Palantir was awarded the £330m contract to provide the platform in December, while Iqvia was awarded a £28m contract to provide “privacy-enhancing technology” for the platform.

Initially the FDP will be used to provide analytics for scheduling elective care and managing flow and discharges from hospitals.

Also on today

In ImPatient, David Gilbertson explains why asking good questions is so important for the patient activist, and we report that a trust’s CEO has warned patients they could be asked to leave or refused treatment if they become abusive towards their staff.