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FOCUS: Around 14,000 islanders waiting for hospital treatment

FOCUS: Around 14,000 islanders waiting for hospital treatment

Tuesday 26 March 2024

FOCUS: Around 14,000 islanders waiting for hospital treatment

Tuesday 26 March 2024


Newly released figures have shed fresh light on the pressures the Health Department is under, with around 14,000 islanders waiting for a first appointment at the hospital, and average waits of around three months.

The new stats, which go up to the end of February, have been made public after the Health Department reinstated its public waiting list data service for the first time in more than a year.

Express took a closer look at what it shows...

Disappearing data

Waiting list data was first published in an interactive format on the Government website for the first time back in 2020 – at the time, there were just short of 11,000 waiting list appointments, and some islanders were having to wait more than nine months for an appointment.

Published on the same day that outpatient services resumed after lockdown, it was intended to help patients better understand and prepare for their journey at a time when the health service was under pressure.

However, the service was taken offline without explanation, with health officials instead opting to publish breakdowns in HCS Advisory Board meeting documents.

The move prompted concerns and frustrations from members of the public, with the data designed for staff members and not easily accessible for patients.

It led Health bosses to pledge to make the information public once again by the end of this month.

At a glance...

The newly published figures show that there is a longer overall waiting list than when the stats first went live four years ago, although there have been some improvements in waiting times for specific areas.

Overall, the stats showed a total of 13,950 currently waiting for a first outpatient appointment as of 29 February.

Of those 13,950 patients, 745 were classed as 'urgent'.

Meanwhile, 1,939 were classed as 'soon' and 11,266 were 'routine' patients.

hospital waiting

Pictured: There are currently 13,950 patients waiting for a first outpatient appointment in Jersey.

The median waiting time for an outpatient appointment was 12 weeks.

There were also 2,711 islanders currently waiting for an elective admission to hospital, of which 218 were classed as 'urgent'.

The median waiting time for elective patients stood at 15 weeks.

Health and Community Services said: "We have updated the way we share information about our waiting lists, to be as transparent as possible with our patients, taking into account feedback to make it clearer for those who are waiting.

"They will be published every month, and we hope they are helpful for islanders."

A closer look...

The new data can also be broken down by department:

Clinical genetics

Clinical genetics, which looks at heritable disorders and disease predisposition, had one of the longest waiting times.

At the end of February, 216 patients were on the wait list.

The median waiting time stood at 51 weeks, just under a year.

Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology – one of the specialisms which has struggled with long wait lists for several years – currently has a total of 1,248 patients waiting for a first outpatient appointment and 376 islanders waiting for an elective admission to hospital.

ophthalmology_shutterstock_2342335247.jpg

Pictured: Bringing down ophthalmology waiting lists has been a priority for Health for several years. 

The ophthalmology department's median waiting time is currently 25 weeks for outpatients and 13 weeks for elective admissions.

Dermatology

Dermatology also recently came under fire from patients frustrated with its long waiting lists, with Health noting that it was a "fragile service across the UK" due to recruitment difficulties.

They said, however, that some improvements had been made thanks to additional resources – including a dedicated GP with interest in dermatology, and the introduction of extra clinics – employed in October.

The latest stats showed there were a total of 1,423 patients waiting for a first appointment at the end of February.

The median waiting time is 29 weeks – more than seven months.

A total of 95 people were awaiting surgery, with an average wait of two weeks.

Rheumatology

The Rheumatology Department is also currently under close scrutiny after a damning report highlighted concerns about prescribing and governance.

Its current waiting list was short, however, with just 45 patients on it at the end of February and an average waiting time of just one week.

You can find the full waiting list data online HERE.

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