Blackpool's half year health report reveals patient backlog

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The NHS in Blackpool is still missing key performance targets with issues including a crisis in staffing levels blamed for some of the failings.

Most recent figures show a backlog of around 18,000 patients waiting for treatment at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals - although this has reduced from 19,000 in March last year.

The CCG has published its half year report on health

The CCG has published its half year report on health

Nearly 83 per cent of people are referred for treatment within the 18 week target, but that is below the national requirement of 92 per cent.

However the number of people waiting for a year to be seen has reduced from 37 over a six month period in 2018 to just one over the same time in 2019, and that is said to have been "a reporting error".

The figures are included in the Fylde Coast Clinical Commissioning Group's half year performance report covering April to September 2018.

As part of a presentation to Blackpool Council's Adult Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee, councillors were told waiting times for breast cancer patients had improved but there was a new risk to the service due to a shortage of breast surgery consultants.

The number of urgent cases being seen within two weeks had gone up to an average of 43 per cent from 25 per cent in 2018, with rates meeting the 93 per cent target since last August.

But one breast surgeon has now left, and another has gone on sick leave prompting renewed concerns about the service.

Recruitment has included the appointment of a locum while surgeons from East Lancashire hospitals are also helping out.

Committee chairman Coun Jim Hobson said: "It seems strange that we rely on one or two people and if they go off, we're snookered."

David Bonson, chief executive of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre CCG, said there was "a recognition that services are reliant on one or two individuals, but trusts are working together."

The committee also heard there was a national recruitment crisis in the NHS, but new ways of attracting people to the nursing and medial professions were being undertaken.

Other breaches highlighted in the report include 134 people waiting longer than 12 hours in A&E between April and September, which happened mainly at weekends and 28 patients whose operations were cancelled at the last minute and did not get rescheduled within the required 28 days.