PERFORMANCE: Moorfields Eye Hospital Foundation Trust has been misreporting waiting times for treatment at its sites across London for years, with hundreds of patients waiting longer than recorded, the trust discovered.
An internal review of its performance against waiting times targets uncovered a “historical issue”, meaning the trust had been incorrectly reporting figures against the national standards for the past five years.
This has affected “fewer than 300 patients”, a trust spokeswoman told HSJ. She was unable to confirm the length of time these patients had waited, but said there was “no evidence of significant risk of clinical harm to any individual patient”.
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The majority of patients are waiting for cataract surgery.
The spokeswoman said patients included both those waiting for treatment at the trust’s central London headquarters and at satellite sites it runs in and around London.
The reporting rules were changed five years ago but Moorfields continued to follow the old guidance, which meant a patient’s waiting time was paused if they chose to have surgery at their local trust clinic or with a specific consultant, rather than accepting an earlier slot at another trust site.
The trust spokeswoman said this was “a genuine oversight”, which was reported to its local clinical commissioning group as soon as it was discovered.
The trust also sought advice from the Department of Health’s intensive support team and stopped applying clock pauses for patients who choose to wait for their local site or a specific consultant. She said: “This has resulted in a dip in performance against the [18 week referral to treatment waiting target] for admitted patients”.
In April - the latest month for which data is available - Moorfields missed all three referral to treatment waiting targets. Just 79 per cent of admitted patients were treated in 18 weeks, against the 90 per cent national target.
The trust has contacted patients to offer them earlier dates for treatment but the spokeswoman said “many do not want to take up this option”.
It has also put on extra clinics in the evening and weekends and recruited more clerks and validators to deal with the rise in referrals.
Board papers and information obtained by HSJ