Hospital's waiting lists 'shortest ever'
HOSPITAL patients in West Suffolk face the shortest waiting times ever recorded, it has been announced.For the second year running, West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has achieved a reduction in waiting times - with some areas down by around half compared to three years ago.
HOSPITAL patients in West Suffolk face the shortest waiting times ever recorded, it has been announced.
For the second year running, West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has achieved a reduction in waiting times - with some areas down by around half compared to three years ago.
The news comes in the midst of a financial crisis that has seen measures being put in place to recover millions of pounds of debt, including bed closures and other cost cutting initiatives.
But staff at the hospital were yesterday praised for their hard work which has resulted in some of the best waiting times in the county.
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“Staff are to be congratulated on their excellent performance in achieving these results for patients,” said Chris Bown, chief executive of the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust.
“They have worked incredibly hard and their dedication to the patients is outstanding. The performance is especially impressive considering that this was achieved during a period of financial recovery where the trust has seen a reduction in costs by many millions of pounds.”
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The trust's recently published Performance Report for the year 2006-7 revealed no-one waited longer than 20 weeks for inpatient or day care, compared to 26 weeks last year, and a staggering nine months in 2004-5.
Outpatient appointments take place in no longer than 11 weeks, compared to 13 weeks last year, and where some people were waiting up to 100 weeks for endoscopy tests in previous years, appointments now take place in 13 weeks or under.
Other areas which have seen huge improvement are echocardiography and CT scans, with no-one waiting on average longer than five weeks and no-one waiting longer than seven weeks on average for an MRI scan - times that all rate better than the required national average of 13 weeks.
All patients who are referred form their GP with suspected cancer are seen within two weeks, with a waiting time of 31 days to diagnosis, waiting no longer than 62 days until treatment.
There have also been improvements in accessing sexual health clinics, with 90% of patients who request an appointment by telephone seen within 48 hours.
Gwen Nuttall, director of operations, said: “Because we are meeting these Department of Health targets, patients are getting quicker access to health care, which means we are serving the public better than ever before.
“Waiting lists have been reduced and we have saved hundreds of bed days and health professionals' hours, improving efficiency and saving money while maintaining this excellent service.”