ALMOST 2,000 patients have been waiting longer than a year for treatment at Basingstoke and Winchester hospitals, and this is likely to increase, a report reveals.

The report to Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (HHFT) Council of Governors shows the number of patients still waiting for treatment after 52 weeks.

In November, at Basingstoke hospital there were 1,308 patients and at Winchester 637, giving a combined total for the trust as 1,945.

The report said: “The reduction in routine and elective day-case activity since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant volume of patients waiting over 52 weeks.

“Looking forward despite the increased volumes of activity seen so far, it is likely that the number of 52 plus week patients will increase further in December and January due to the increase in the volume of patients currently waiting over 40 weeks and the volume of treatments booked.”

The departments predominately affected were urology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, maxilla-facial surgery, and ENT (Ear Nose Throat).

The departments where there is the “biggest risk of continued growth” in patients waiting more than a year for treatment were identified as orthopaedics, ENT, and urology.

The trust has a target of zero patients waiting longer than 52 weeks for treatment, and usually would face a financial penalty for not meeting this.

However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic it said these are currently waived.

The trust is meant to refer patients for treatment within 18 weeks.

As of November, 65.9 per cent of patients were referred within this timeframe, below its target of 92 per cent.

However, this was an increase of 2.5 per cent from the previous month, despite the patient list size increasing by 694 patients.

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