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7,110 people waiting a year or more for treatment at Barts NHS trust

Barts Health, which manages Whipps Cross Hospital, has a mammoth waiting list of 118,897 people, NHS data reveals

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Barts NHS Trust waiting lists have hit 118,897, up from 111,132 at the start of last year, with 45.4% of patients having to wait more than 18 weeks to be seen for treatment, NHS data reveals.

Barts Health manages five London hospitals: Whipps Cross in Leytonstone, Newham General, Royal London, Mile End Hospital, and St Bartholomew’s.

According to the NHS data, a total of 7,110 people were left waiting for treatment at the trust for more than one year (52 weeks). This was rise of 81 people from the year previously. The data also revealed a total of 305 people have had to wait a total of 71 weeks or more.

Patients awaiting oral surgery face the longest median wait at the trust, at 24.1 weeks, while those awaiting plastic face an average wait of 20.8 weeks. People seeking treatment for urological concerns tend to wait 20.4 weeks, and the shortest average wait time was experienced by those needing rheumatological treatment, at 6.4 weeks.

NHS data also reveals that the number waiting over a year for treatment at the trust has risen by 81 since January last year, when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged that waiting lists would fall by 2025, and asked voters to hold him to account if they did not.

The waiting list increase comes amid a series of challenges for the NHS including government funding pressures, an ageing population, and a series of recent strikes by staff including junior doctors and consultants. In early January, junior doctors at Barts went on strike over pay and conditions. One doctor told the Echo that the record six-day strike, was about “people recognising that we are real human beings. We weren’t born just to provide a service, we’re here to live our own lives as well. We want to be able to do that and not have the government feel that they are entitled to our labour”.

According to the Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats, the NHS is facing real-terms cuts to funding. Using the Office for Budget Responsibility’s “GDP deflator”, which calculates expected changes to inflation over the next few years, the Lib Dems said that the NHS budget is set to fall by £1.3billion (0.8%) next year after a £3.5b cut in real terms this year (2.1%).

Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Leyton and Wanstead, Tara Copeland said: “These shocking figures show far too many people in Waltham Forest are being left waiting endlessly in pain for treatment. People deserve a local health service that delivers the care they deserve when they need it.

“One year on from when Rishi Sunak promised that waiting lists would fall, thousands of people in our community are still stuck on waiting lists with their lives put on hold or unable to work.

“Now this government is set to do the unthinkable and slash NHS funding even further. Local health services are in crisis but Conservative ministers either don’t get it or don’t care.”

A spokesperson for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “As well as caring for over 1,500 urgent and emergency cases every day, our hospitals are tackling the backlog of patients waiting for routine care, prioritising those waiting the longest and those who need care urgently.

“We are working to ensure that by the end of March, no one is waiting 18 months or more for treatment, despite the industrial action that has forced us to postpone more than 2,400 operations and over 28,000 outpatient appointments.”