NHS England Waiting List hits a record with 4.46 million patients in need of hospital treatment
Article written by Mireya Lázaro and Carlos Domingo S.
▸ NHS England figures show that the number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment in England stood at 192,169 in November 2020 – the highest number for any calendar month since May 2008.
▸ Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, says “we will need sustained investment to treat all those who have been waiting patiently for treatment.”
Data published by NHS England in December showed almost 4.5 million people in NHS England waiting for surgical treatment at the end of November. In Wales, where surgical waiting lists are up to eight times higher than pre-COVID levels.
Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “Many of us were complaining about the pain of the lockdown restrictions in November. However, we should remember all those people waiting for an operation who had their physical pain to deal with, on top of the pain of lockdown.
“A huge, hidden waiting list is building up under lockdown.”
“When we eventually emerge from this crisis, we will need sustained investment to treat all those who have been waiting patiently for treatment.”
Among other worrying figures revealed by the NHS, almost 800 patients had to wait in ambulances for more than an hour before they could be admitted to A&E. Besides, intensive care units were 40 per cent fuller in the second week of January than last year.
The NHS’ target for patients in England to receive treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks appears almost impossible to achieve. According to Professor Mortensen said, «the supposed legal right for patients looks more like a vague aspiration, with 2 in 5 now waiting longer».
Paradoxically, although waiting lists are increasing, they could be even longer were it not for the fact that not as many patients are referred for surgical treatment as in previous years. NHS England data shows 27 per cent fewer patients were admitted for routine treatment during November 2020 compared to last year. Some 222,180 went ahead with their scheduled ops, down from the previous 303,193.
Exceptional measures to tackle the situation are being called for, without the main burden of recovery falling on exhausted professionals, who are often unable to work. According to information published by Health Service Journal, data published by the NHS show that one in ten hospital nurses are now off sick in the worst affected areas of the country.
How Technology can help?
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ORVital® allows a Theatre Manager or NHS Trust to have a complete and real-time visualization of the operating theatres, enabling observation and control of what happens (late starts, early terminations, cancellations, etc.); automating the coordination of personnel tasks (transfers, cleaning, assets, etc.); and real-time knowledge of the status of each patient (location, process status, history, etc.), taking the efficiency of the surgical department to levels never seen before.
What does ORVital® provide?
• Real-Time Control of Planning: Surgical schedule vs execution display of surgical procedures in progress; so that a manager can take the necessary measures to reorganize the work in real-time to make the most with the available resources.
• Daily Patient Control: Facilitates administrative tasks and access to patient information related to the process with different levels of access to information depending on who is reading it. It enables greater control of patient flow to reduce process waiting times and facilitate patient flow coordination so that personnel such as supervisors, nurses at PACU can have more time in the main activity, Patient Care.
• Virtual Waiting Room App: Allows family members to know in real-time the status of their family member, as well as communications and notifications from health professionals.
• Operational Control in the Operating Theatres: Facilitates operational tasks and coordination with other areas within the OR so that the personnel working there, mainly nurses and nursing assistants, can reduce the time required to perform these tasks and increase the availability of care time.
• Active Patient Search: Provides access to patient information, so that block managers can know details of the process the patient has gone through and their location in real-time. This system includes alarms for specific cases where the patient may be in the wrong area.
• Centralized Management of PACU beds: Allows optimal management of the preparation and recovery beds to avoid bottlenecks in the processes, as well as to guarantee the clinical safety of the patient.
• Automated Patient Transfers: Facilitates the coordination of patient transfers in the surgical process, making the coordination of the different areas involved more efficient (PACU nurses, operating room nurses, external nurses, and porters) while reducing the noise level and stress of the surgical block.
• Support of Porters to PACU and Operating Theatres: Facilitates communication between PACU, Operating Room staff, and Porters, to efficiently coordinate the support tasks carried out by the Porters for the PACU and Operating Theatres areas.
• On-Demand Operating Theatres Cleaning: Facilitates communication between Operating Theatres staff and Cleaning staff, to be able to efficiently coordinate operating room cleaning tasks, significantly reducing preparation time between surgeries.
• Automated Energy Control in Operating Theatres: It offers the possibility of automatically switching between low, high, and medium consumption modes based on the activity detected in the operating room in real-time, to save energy costs (around 100K£ or 50% based on regular consumption) with the consequent benefit for the environment too.
We’ve combined the highest level of compatibility with hospital administration, patient management software, and building automation systems with the most dynamic deployment process in the industry, making it the only solution that doesn’t need to lead to increases in the annual budget of Trusts and Hospitals.