As reported by the HSJ, Barking, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) University Trust had over 1,000 patients waiting more than a year for elective treatment at the start of February.
The figure recorded by BHR exceeded the national average, although it is not the only Trust to come under scrutiny. In data released by NHS England, North Bristol Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester both recorded high numbers of one year waiters, with 167 and 267 respectively.
Matthew Hopkins, BHR Chief Executive, emphasised the importance of patients being seen as quickly as possible and reaffirmed the Trust’s commitment to meeting the industry’s waiting time standard by the end of 2016-17.
Hopkins suggested the Trust’s poor performance was the result of a longstanding mismatch between capacity and demand. On the subject of reporting, Hopkins added that in early 2014 the trust took the decision to suspend reporting on referrals, following the discovery of an operational error which compromised validity.
The waiting times experienced by some patients at BHR emphasise a significant challenge facing the NHS today. Referrals are received from a range of sources and systems, at an increased pace, with varying quality. As such Trusts are required to rethink their processes to try and find increasingly innovative ways of managing demand.
psHEALTH’s referral management solution offers a true Single Point of Access, allowing key stakeholders full sight of the referral anywhere in the process. In addition it enables the collection of robust data at point of referral, providing commissioners the ability to forecast demand and accurately assess their performance against key indicators. Only with good, timely data can Trusts, and ultimately CCGs, hope to improve the quality of incoming referrals.