University College London Hospitals Trust: all the key numbers for the NHS Trust in February
By Will Grimond, Data Reporter
Tens of thousands of patients were waiting for routine treatment at University College London Hospitals Trust in February, figures show.
The figures come as a health think tank warns waiting lists will ‘continue to swell’ under pressures on the NHS.
NHS England figures show 71,345 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the end of February – up from 70,514 in January, and 56,649 in February 2022.
Of those, 1,790 (3%) had been waiting for longer than a year.
The median waiting time from referral at an NHS Trust to treatment at University College London Hospitals Trust was 14 weeks at the end of February – the same as in January.
Nationally, 7.2 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February.
Saoirse Mallorie, senior analyst at The King’s Fund think tank, said: “In their elective recovery plan, Ministers set the NHS an ambitious target to eradicate 18-month waits for planned hospital care by April 2023.
“Today’s figures show that huge strides have been made towards that goal, bringing down the number of 18-month waits from 69,300 to 29,800 in a year.”
“However, patients are still facing unacceptably long waits and we can expect to see the overall waiting list, which currently stands at 7.2 million people, continue to swell as the NHS grapples with sustained pressures,” she added.
Separate figures show 1.6 million patients in England were waiting for a key diagnostic test in February – the same as in January.
At University College London Hospitals Trust, 10,555 patients were waiting for one of 13 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy at this time.
Of them, 949 (9%) had been waiting for at least six weeks.
Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “We are heading for extremely troubled times ahead in urgent and emergency care.”
“Overcrowding in emergency departments and acute medical units means many patients are still not receiving timely and high-quality patient care.”
“It reflects the day-to-day experience of teams delivering acute medical care in emergency departments, often in corridors and other unsuitable environments, rather than in appropriate wards,” he added.
Other figures from NHS England show that of 59 patients urgently referred by the NHS who were treated at University College London Hospitals Trust in February, 35 were receiving cancer treatment within two months of their referral.
A month previously – when 56 patients were referred – 35 were treated within 62 days.
In February 2022, 33 patients were treated within this period, out of 65 that were referred.
NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “The last few months have been demanding for the NHS as record numbers of patients have come forward for care on top of hugely disruptive strike action.”
He continued: “Today’s data shows demand on services is not relenting with A&E attendances and ambulance calls outs in March recorded at the highest level so far this year – even higher than a very busy January.”
He added there were positive signs for the NHS, particularly in reducing the longest waiting times.