Leeds hospital waiting time targets are missed again

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hospital bosses have again missed a deadline for meeting national targets on waiting times.

Managers at Leeds hospitals have been struggling to ensure 90 per cent of patients are treated within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP.

Last July, directors at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS 
Trust (LTHT) were told that a previous blitz to cut down on a backlog of patients had not worked.

A new plan was drawn up which it was assured would mean the target was being hit by the start of this year.

But now hospital chiefs have been told the backlog was not cleared in time.

A report to the board of directors said: “This places the organisation in a difficult position both in terms of assuring the delivery of high quality and timely patient care and in terms of credibility with commissioners and regulators.”

The new aim is for the target to be met by the end of May this year.

In 2012, hospital bosses agreed they would aim to not meet the 18 week target in order to try to treat those who had been waiting for planned procedures the longest, but the backlog was not cleared quickly enough, so over time it increased.

Causes included a lack of management of the waiting list.

The former chief executive of LTHT, Maggie Boyle, apologised to Leeds residents in May over the failure to meet the target, admitting they were “letting patients down”.

In July, the latest plan – to deliver the target by January 2014 – was revealed by hospital heads.

However the latest report by chief operating officer Dr Mark Smith said that despite improvements, the aims were not hit.

The new plan involves reducing the number of patients who had waited more than 18 weeks to 550 by the end of May, which means the target would be hit.

Sending patients for private treatment and looking at doing extra operations on weekends are among the measures to be used.

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