Increased demand 'taking its toll' as hospital trust which runs Grantham Hospital misses targets for more than five years
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has been missing targets on A&E waiting and cancer treatment times for more than half a decade.
Bosses have apologised, saying they are not “performing as well as we should be” but say increased demand is taking its toll.
The last time ULHT, which runs Grantham Hospital, achieved 95 per cent of patients being treated within four hours of arrival at A&E was September 2014, the same month it surpassed the 85 per cent target to start cancer treatment within 62 days of urgent GP referral.
Earlier this month it was reported that in October Lincoln County Hospital could only see 64.2 per cent of its patients within four hours. The England average was 83.6 per cent.
Chief operating officer Mark Brassington said: “Over the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people attending our hospitals.
“We are seeing more patients than ever before coming through our three emergency departments, accessing cancer treatments and being referred for planned surgery.”
Figures from NHS England show how, in quarter two of this year, ULHT managed to get 81.78% of its patients seen for cancer treatment within 62 days – however, this is still short of the 85 per cent target.
Between July and September, the trust treated 220 people, with 180 of those hitting the target.
Nationally, just 83.6 per cent of patients were seen within the target.
“Compared to five years ago, we are seeing 130 more patients every week who are on a two week wait outpatient pathway – that’s an increase of 35 per cent,” said Mr Brassington.
“We also have 28 per cent more patients on a 62 day cancer pathway,” he continued.
“Despite these increases we are treating 200 more patients within the 62 day standard than we did five years ago.”
The trust has also struggled with achieving 92 per cent of patients having planned operations and care within 18 weeks of referral.
The last time it succeeded was June 2016 – the England average passed the test in February of that year.
In September, 75 per cent of patients were seen within the allotted period.
The average for England was 84.8 per cent.
Mr Brassington said: “Although we are treating more people, we accept that we are not performing as well as we should be and some of our patients wait longer than they should to access some treatments, for which we apologise.
“We are not alone in seeing such significant growth in demand, and we are working with partner health and social care organisations to ensure our patients receive the appropriate and best possible care as soon as possible across all of our specialties.”
More by this authorDaniel Jaines, Local Democracy Reporter