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Thousands of Bucks patients waiting months for treatment

NHS rules say the wait time should be 18 weeks

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 5:56pm 8th January 2020. (Updated at 12:46pm 9th January 2020) 3-minute read.

Thousands of Bucks patients waiting months for treatment

Thousands of referral wait times in Buckinghamshire are exceeding the limit. 

NHS says that anybody who has been referred for non-urgent consultant led care should start treatment within 18 weeks. 

However, for thousands of people in Bucks that isn't happening.

The Patients Association says long waits can be unbelievably stressful, and blames a "familiar cocktail" of underfunding, poor planning and higher demand for increased waiting times.

At the end of October 2019, 4,749 people waiting for their referral had been waiting longer than the set period. 

Of those, 400 had been waiting 36 weeks which is over 8 months. 

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said that while targets can drive improvement, they would be hard to achieve without a "much-needed injection" of staff:

“Our data shows that 43% of consultant posts went unfilled last year, partly due to the fact that there simply aren’t enough people training to become doctors.

“We need the Government to commit to doubling the number of medical school places, so that we can truly create a workforce that is fit for the future.”

A spokesperson for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust said:

Although we are working hard to improve the current figure of 84.4% of patients treated within 18 weeks against the 92% target, with such a high volume of patients attending A&E (we are seeing over 175 additional patients each week compared to last year) we have to prioritise those requiring the most urgent treatment.
"We have activated our winter plans which include designating more beds for medical patients and cancelling non-essential work, for example meetings and training sessions, and are ensuring support is in place to help keep our frontline staff fit and well. 
"The Trust is moving forward with the development of virtual advice and guidance services which will allow GPs to have direct access to consultant advice without the patient attending the hospital. This will ensure the focus remains on clinical need with specialist advice readily available."

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