BHRUT - Important message - waiting lists for elective care

BHRUT have told us about an issue regarding their waiting lists for elective care. They have informed us that due to a computer error the number of people waiting for treatment through their services has increased by an estimated 1,800, from 61,400 to 63,200. Of these, around 600 people have been waiting for more than a year and approximately 200 patients have been waiting for more than two years.  

The patients affected are waiting to see specialists in gynaecology, neurology, neurosurgery and ophthalmology. BHRUT is contacting those patients as a matter of urgency, and have called everyone affected. They will write directly to anyone who they are unable to contact over the phone.  

We appreciate that this will be a concern for you and everyone affected by this delay. BHRUT will be able to collate a list of patients affected, broken down by practice, over the course of next week and will share that via commissioners. The Trust will notify you where they have been unable to contact patients affected by this incident, and is advising that you continue to refer patients to their services as normal. 

The Trust has issued the below message to stakeholders this morning: 

Dear colleagues, 

Our clinical, operational, and administrative teams have been working hard to provide care as quickly as possible to people whose treatment has been delayed by Covid-19. 

As we have been working through our waiting lists, we have discovered a problem with one of them that was used to deal with the backlog created by the pandemic. It contained routine referrals that were submitted by GPs who wanted their patients to be seen by a specialist, but for whom there were no appointments available due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, these patients were removed automatically from this list before they had been seen. 

We have fixed the error that caused this and have called all those affected. We are writing to the individuals we failed to speak to on the phone. 

The patients have been waiting to see our specialists in routine clinics in gynaecology, neurology, neurosurgery and ophthalmology. We are reviewing every case and are setting up a formal group, reporting to the Board, to oversee our response which will be chaired by one of our non-executive directors.  

As a result of the computer error our waiting lists have increased by around 1,800, from 61,400 to 63,200. Of these, around 600 people have been waiting for more than a year. This figure includes approximately 200 patients who have been waiting for more than two years (104+ weeks). The NHS target for clearing the 104+ weeks backlog is the end of June, and we are confident we can meet this deadline except for a small number of cases where patient choice may be a factor.  

I am sorry this has happened. I would like to apologise for the stress this will have caused those experiencing a delay. We have worked hard to tackle our waiting list and will bring that same spirit of innovation and collaboration to putting this right. 

If you or anyone you know may have been affected by this, please telephone 0208 970 5704 – Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm - or send an email. 

Best wishes. 

Matthew Trainer - Chief Executive

We will work closely with them to reduce the waiting lists and ensure patients receive the treatment they need as quickly as possible.