Longest hospital waits all but eliminated across Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes

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Home » Longest hospital waits all but eliminated across Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes

People in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are experiencing shorter hospital waits according to new data just published, with 104 weeks waits all but eliminated.  This compares to a high of nearly 180 people waiting more than two years in January 2022.

As part of the effort to clear the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic, NHS England committed earlier this year to ending such long waits, except in cases where a patient wishes to delay their treatment. The work undertaken so successfully by the staff at Bedfordshire Hospitals and Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS foundation trusts has helped the health service locally deliver on that national promise.

Commenting on the achievement, NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board’s chief executive, Felicity Cox said:

“Reducing the number of our residents who have been waiting the longest for their hospital treatment across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes is a real achievement. And whilst it is right that we thank our hospital colleagues for all their hard work to date, it is important to recognise that there is still some way to for local health and care services to catch up with the backlogs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is no doubt the NHS still faces significant pressures, from the impact caused by Covid admissions, staff absences due to the virus and record demand for ambulances and emergency care. But our commitment remains not just to recover waiting times but doing so by transforming local health and care services through better partnership working.”

A good example of how the NHS has been tackling waiting lists comes from Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH) NHS Foundation Trust, which has implemented a mixture of ground-breaking technology and extended operating hours to reduce waiting times while improving patient outcomes.

Technology like the Versius Surgical Robot, which saw MKUH become the first hospital in Europe to perform robotic surgery in certain specialties, is helping the hospital to save around 450 bed days a year by utilising minimal access surgery to reduce the recovery time of patients and get them home quicker. The MyMobility App also harnesses the power of technology to help orthopaedic patients recover quicker too, using an app to help them prepare for their operations and then to track their recovery post-op, meaning more beds are free to admit more patients coming in for planned care.

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

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

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