MORE than 2,000 people in Herefordshire have been waiting for hospital treatment for over a year, according to health bosses.

Wye Valley NHS Trust managing director Jane Ives said they have been talking with clinical teams at Hereford County Hospital about ways of reducing the backlog.

Speaking at today’s (March 4) trust board meeting she also raised concerns over national funding which has helped in discharging patients drying up.

“We have over 2,000 people who are on our waiting list who have been waiting for over a year,” she said.

“That’s a huge backlog. We’ve started talking to our clinical teams about what’s the best approach to that, specialty by specialty.

“There isn’t any national guidance yet on the approach to that and the speed of reducing that backlog.

“But the most important thing to do is to understand what our specialty staff’s views are on the right way to manage this as they know their patients better.

“It is a huge concern, and we had a depression in the number of patients begin referred onto waiting list during this time and we expect that to bounce back as it did after the first wave.

“So it’s just an added pressure of new patients on what is already a very large waiting list.

“We will be coming back to this time and time again over the coming months.”


She said another issue of concern was the apparent withdrawal in April of national funding for the discharge to assess pathways.

“What’s been happening over the last year is that we’ve been discharging patients really effectively into the right place first time,” she said.

“So, we’ve expanded community teams, more patients are going straight home but some of that has been supported by national funding which looks like is not going to be there in three weeks.

“We are working very closely with the local authority and clinical commissioning group on how we can try and maintain those pathways.

“It’s so much better for patients to be at home when it’s clinically right for them and not be constrained by the capacity of community teams.”

She said the trust is working very hard with Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG on how they can maintain and fund the service.