Harrogate hospital chief executive confident of hitting waiting list target
Last updated Mar 1, 2024

Harrogate hospital’s chief executive has said he is confident no patient will be waiting more than 18 months for an operation by the end of March.

The trust set a target at the start of the year to reduce its maximum waiting time to 65 weeks.

Jonathan Coulter, chief executive at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, told the Stray Ferret that it was on track to meet its target.

According to latest trust figures, a total of 120 people were waiting 65 weeks or more for an operation in December 2023.

No patients were waiting longer than 78 weeks – around 18 months.

Mr Coulter said he expected the target to be met by the end of March. However, he warned that the trust still had more to do to meet pre-covid levels.

He said:

“We must remember that even before covid over 90% of people were being seen in 18 weeks. So, we have got quite a bit to go yet in terms of getting it down from a year and a quarter all the way down to four months.

“The plan next year is to get that 65 weeks down to 52 weeks as a maximum wait. We’re on that trajectory, which is good.”

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The move comes as NHS England told hospital trusts across the country that no patient should be waiting longer than 18 months by the end of the financial year.

Hospitals suffered an increase in waiting lists due to covid, which saw non-urgent procedures postponed.

In 2022, the Harrogate trust’s board approved an increase in capacity at the hospital to help deal with the long waiting list.

The £14 million project will see two additional operating theatres, two procedure rooms and a 12-bed ward for patients who require extended stays in care built on the site.

The trust also hopes the project will help to “future proof” the hospital for a growth in population and changes in demographic in the district.