• Trust now has nearly 15,000 people waiting
  • Patients waiting more than a year are being reviewed
  • Chief executive “confident” waiting list is now reported accurately

A specialist trust has seen its waiting list rise by a third – and uncovered an additional 115 52 week waiters – after a review revealed its reported figures were incomplete.

The Queen Victoria Hospital Foundation Trust now has 14,738 people waiting for treatment – up from 11,101. Patients waiting more than a year have jumped from 30 to 145 and its performance against the 18 week target, which had been reported as 78.9 per cent in May, has dropped to 74.5 per cent.

The trust, which provides specialist burns, reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation services to much of the south of England as well as other specialties more locally, is based in East Grinstead but works closely with a number of other hospitals, through a “hub and spoke” model. This has complicated the process of keeping accurate waiting lists because patients may be recorded on patient administration systems at other hospitals, even when they are awaiting treatment from QVH clinicians, and have not been fully “visible” to the trust.

The trust became aware its reported waiting list might not be accurate and, working with the NHS intensive support team, identified patients waiting at spoke sites at Medway Foundation Trust, Dartford and Gravesham Trust, and East Sussex Healthcare Trust who had not been included in the QVH waiting lists, as well as some patients who had been recorded outside the patient tracking list.

A harm review is being carried out for all patients waiting more than 52 weeks, with no cases of harm uncovered so far.

The trust has also stopped doing some low complexity dental work – which has been contributing to the waiting list – although it continues to do more complex work. It is also accessing additional theatre capacity through ESHT and a local independent provider to reduce the waiting list.

Chief executive Steve Jenkin said: “I am very sorry that some patients are waiting too long for their treatment and I do not underestimate the discomfort and distress that waiting causes. I am confident that we are now reporting our waiting list accurately and I am grateful for the advice and support that we have had from NHS Improvement. We are determined to treat all our patients in a timely way and our new improved waiting list systems will help us to do that.”