18-week waits still improving
23/07/2012by Rob Findlay
Long-waiters continued to fall in May, according to the latest statistics, with new record lows for the numbers waiting longer than 18, 26, 39 and 52 weeks. The falls were concentrated at the longest-waiting end of the waiting list, and (slightly worryingly) there was some relaxation in services that are already achieving the target, so that the 92nd centile waiting time for incomplete pathways actually rose slightly from 16.0 to 16.2 weeks.
In a pleasing bit of numerical symmetry, a record 92 per cent of Trusts achieved the new target that 92 per cent of the waiting list must be within 18 weeks, up from 64 per cent a year earlier (for all specialties combined). Drilling down further to Trust-specialty level, the proportion of services achieving the new target rose to a record high of 85 per cent.
A surge in admissions meant that the numbers of long-waiters being admitted rose from April to May, although the proportion of long-waiters being admitted was lower, and closed the gap on (but did not fall below) the level set at the General Election. (So my prediction was wrong… maybe next month.)
The total number of patients on the waiting list continues to track the trend of recent years with uncanny accuracy:
The number of patients admitted for treatment was higher than in recent years, because May 2012 had 22 working days compared with 20 in May 2011 and 19 in May 2010.
Long-waiters on the list continued to fall, especially for the longest-waiters. The following chart is displayed with a logarithmic scale to show the proportional reductions:
The national 92nd centile waiting time ticked up slightly, but remained comfortably below the 18 week target.
In line with the general picture that longest waits have improved the most, those specialties with long waiting times have improved but those already achieving 18 weeks have relaxed a little. This will be a cause for concern if the pattern continues.
Having broken through the 80 per cent level for the first time in April, the proportion of Trust-specialties achieving the new incomplete pathways target galloped confidently to 85 per cent in May.
Trust top twenty
So many Trusts are now achieving the incomplete pathways target that our top twenty includes (for the first time) some Trusts where 92 per cent of the waiting list is within 18 weeks; 7 of the 20, in fact. If this carries on we will have to slim the list down to a top ten. (Imperial did not submit data in May, but are expected to return to the data series imminently.)
|Trust||92% of waiting list is within||Position in May||Change||Position in April||Over-one-year waiters on list|
|The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS FT||37.0 weeks||# 1||no change||from # 1||97|
|North Bristol NHS Trust||29.9 weeks||# 2||up 1||from # 3||283|
|Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust||26.0 weeks||# 3||up 1||from # 4||7|
|James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||25.5 weeks||# 4||down 2||from # 2||0|
|Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust||22.0 weeks||# 5||no change||from # 5||57|
|Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust||20.3 weeks||# 6||up 1||from # 7||88|
|Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust||20.0 weeks||# 7||down 1||from # 6||308|
|King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust||19.9 weeks||# 8||up 2||from # 10||204|
|Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust||19.7 weeks||# 9||up 5||from # 14||67|
|Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust||19.4 weeks||# 10||down 2||from # 8||0|
|Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust||19.4 weeks||# 11||up 2||from # 13||56|
|Croydon Health Services NHS Trust||18.8 weeks||# 12||down 3||from # 9||0|
|University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust||18.3 weeks||# 13||up 2||from # 15||105|
|Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust||18.0 weeks||# 14||up 21||from # 35||8|
|Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust||17.9 weeks||# 15||up 12||from # 27||14|
|Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust||17.9 weeks||# 16||up 27||from # 43||6|
|University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust||17.9 weeks||# 17||up 11||from # 28||58|
|Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust||17.9 weeks||# 18||up 11||from # 29||15|
|Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust||17.9 weeks||# 19||up 33||from # 52||8|
|Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust||17.8 weeks||# 20||up 5||from # 25||0|
Congratulations are in order for the following Trusts who have dropped off the table with large reductions in their 92nd centile waiting times for incomplete pathways: Royal Berkshire (20.7 to 15.3 weeks), St George’s (20.6 to 17.4 weeks), East Cheshire (18.3 to 17.2 weeks), The Whittington (18.3 to 15.6 weeks), and Great Ormond Street (18.2 to 16.9 weeks).
18-week statistics for June are due out at 9:30am on Thu 16 August.Return to Post Index