NHS reaches key target for patient waiting times

NHS Derby and Derbyshire has virtually eliminated the need for patients to wait more than two years for scans, checks and surgical procedures, except for reasons of choice or complexity

The NHS has been working towards this target since the publication of the Elective Recovery Plan in February as part of the health service’s most ambitious catch-up plan in history.

The plan set out how the NHS would tackle the backlog, which built up as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan focused first on treating those patients who had been waiting the longest.

By the end of July, only nine patients had been waiting more than two years within Derby and Derbyshire. Six of those were waiting because their conditions were extremely complex, while the other three had chosen to wait for their treatment.

Delivering this target has only been possible thanks to the hard work of staff, making effective use of all available capacity, including partnerships with independent sector providers, as well as through new relationships and mutual aid arrangements to move patients where appropriate.

Next steps

The next target in the Elective Recovery Plan is to eliminate 78-week waits by April 2023, as well as building greater resilience into the NHS by recruiting and retaining more staff, and expanding capacity through community diagnostic centres, surgical hubs and virtual wards.

NHS staff will continue to provide expert treatment to everyone who needs it and particularly those who have been waiting the longest, and it is crucial that people concerned to come forward for help if they are concerned about their health.