More than 4,000 patients face year-long wait for treatment in Suffolk and north Essex

The intensive care units at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals have been full since before New Year due to the pressure from...

Nearly 2,000 patients are on a year-long waiting list for treatment at ESNEFT, which manages Ipswich Hospital - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

More than 4,000 people are now facing waits of more than a year for hospital treatment in Suffolk and north Essex due to coronavirus, it has emerged.

Data released by NHS England has revealed waiting times have skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, with 224,205 people nationwide now expected to wait 12 months or more.

Meanwhile the number of patients starting their treatment within 18 weeks of referral has fallen throughout the Covid-19 crisis. 

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which manages, Ipswich, Colchester and Felixstowe hospitals, had 49 patients waiting more than a year in March 2020.

However, that figure surged to 1,903 for December - a rise of more than 3,700%.


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The trust currently has 42,258 patients awaiting treatment in total, the 14th highest in the country.

The number of the trust's patients receiving treatment within 18 weeks of referral fell from 75.7% to 68% in the same timeframe.

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Neill Moloney, managing director of ESNEFT, said: "Thanks to the hard work of our staff we have continued to treat patients for non-Covid-19 reasons throughout the pandemic, including all urgent cancer treatment, and we have provided virtual consultations to patients who needed them."

Neill Moloney, managing director and deputy chief executive at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ANDY ABBOT

Neill Moloney, managing director of ESNEFT - Credit: Archant

NHS data also revealed that West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which manages West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, saw its year-long waiting list increase from 15 to 2,205 between March and December - a rise of 14600%.

The accident took place outside West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

There are more than 2,000 people on the year-long waiting list at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust - Credit: Archant

West Suffolk Hospital currently has 20,437 patients on its waiting list for treatment.

A total of 63.1% of the trust's patients were receiving treatment within 18 weeks of referral in December, a fall from 74.8% the previous March.

 West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said no urgent cancer treatment had been delayed due to the pandemic.

Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of the trust, said: "Our staff have worked hard during the pandemic, both in our hospitals and in the community, to keep caring for patients, while also keeping everyone safe and it is vital that residents of west Suffolk continue to follow ‘hands, face, space’ guidance.

Suffolk coronavirus cases: Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, sa

Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust - Credit: Archant

"We have continued to treat those who needed care most throughout the pandemic, including cancer treatment and are offering virtual consultations and additional support wherever it is needed."

A spokesman added: "Despite huge pressure across our trust, data published last month shows that average waiting times for elective surgery is less than 12 weeks.

"We continue to see and treat those with the most clinically urgent and the public can help too by observing the latest government rules."

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