Shropshire

41-week wait for surgery at Oswestry orthopaedic hospital

A hospital in Shropshire has been named as having the longest waiting times for orthopaedic operations in England.

Oswestry's Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital was recorded at the end of February as having an average waiting time of 41 weeks.

The NHS has a maximum target time of 18 weeks patients should have to wait.

The Oswestry hospital said as a specialist centre its services were in "huge demand" but that the situation had improved since February.

At the same time, the nearby Heart of England NHS trust recorded an average wait of 22 weeks for orthopaedic surgery and the Telford and Shrewsbury NHS Trust recorded 25 weeks.

Wendy Farrington Chadd, chief executive at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, said the hospital had allowed patients to choose to wait for specific consultants, which had led to longer waiting times.

'Take on referrals'

She said patients looking at particularly long waits had also been offered to have the treatment privately.

She added: "We have agreed plans with our commissioners to eliminate any long waiters. To achieve this, we have put in place steps to increase activity and we are on target to deliver our plans."

"There is a national problem with waiting times for spinal surgery. As a specialist centre, we have taken on additional referrals from areas where they no longer provide a national spinal disorders service," she said.

The hospital said it was confident more recent figures would show its waiting times had improved.

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