Pledge over Shropshire hospital waiting lists

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Shropshire's two main hospitals, which had the longest waiting lists in the West Midlands, say they will now meet government targets in March.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust was criticised in November for being in the bottom six nationally due to 6,000 patients having to wait longer than 18 weeks.

Some were waiting as long as a year to be treated.

The trust said it expected numbers to fall to about 600 at the end of March.

Dr Leigh Griffin, deputy chief executive of the West Mercia Cluster, said about 25% of patients at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal in Telford were waiting for longer than 18 weeks last year.

He said: "That was unacceptable. Patients should have the expectation that when referred by their GP their treatment should start within 18 weeks, unless they wish a further period of delay or unless there are other clinical reasons, such as they need to lose a bit of weight."

Dr Griffin said there had been new investment in additional services, clinic sessions, operating theatre sessions and extra staff to bring the waiting list down.

Alongside its report into waiting times, the trusts also looked at whether patients had been clinically harmed by waiting more than 18 weeks.

Only in the area of eye conditions did it conclude patients may have suffered clinically due to the length of waiting lists.

Out of 35 patients reviewed, six suffered severe deterioration in one of their eyes.

The patients have been informed about the reasons for the delay and to discuss ongoing support and care.

"We have also offered our sincere apologies for what has happened," a spokesman added.

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