NHS booking officers have been working hard to reduce the amount of time patients have to wait for their appointments, cutting the longest waiting times by a quarter.
Between January 15th and February 12th 2023, staff have reduced the number of people waiting more than 18 months by 27 per cent. This has taken the figure from 54,382 to 39,903 in just a month.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said this is down to the “incredible efforts and dedication of our staff”.
She said it is a particularly “remarkable achievement given staff have experienced the worst winter on record with seasonal pressures with the fear of the twindemic of Covid and flu becoming a reality”.
As a result of this, there was more demand for A&E services than ever before and the highest number of urgent ambulance call outs was experienced.
However, ten NHS trusts have managed to eliminate 18-month waits, and over 25 have fewer than ten patients waiting a year and a half for their appointment.
The achievement is even more impressive given the NHS has been hit by industrial action since the end of last year. Consequently, more than 111,000 appointments in acute trusts and 20,000 more in other settings have been impacted.
One of the problems causing delays is patients missing appointments, with 6.4 per cent of the 122 million appointments booked last year unattended.
NHS booking schedulers have been advised to make daily reminder calls, use automated reminders, and thank patients who show up on time to reduce this figure.
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