'Green shoots of recovery' in Doncaster medical services hit by the coronavirus crisis, say bosses

Doncaster NHS bosses say they are starting to see green shoots of recovery, in medical services hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 3:03 pm

Officials say A&E waiting times have improved, and some measures look better for non-essential surgery, and some cancer treatments.

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Director of strategy and delivery at the Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Anthony Fitzgerald, told the organisation’s governors meeting: “We are starting to see green shoots of recovery in pre-covid performance measures. A&E waiting performance time is just over 84 per cent of people waiting under four hours.”

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File picture shows a radiographer at work

He said the organisation was starting to see some improvement in routine non-essential surgery, although targets to meet 2019-20 figures were seen as a big challenge.

He told the group’s governors meeting there had been some improvement against cancer waiting time targets, but not all.

Concerns had been raised in recent months over failure to hit targets for breast cancer referrals.

Dr Marco Pieri, who leads the CCG's cancer work, said it was now believed referrals were recovering in terms of meeting the number of patients seen within two weeks, after extra clinics, called Super Saturdays, were held.

He said: “The breast clinic two week rate has been challenged by a number of issues, including more referrals. and they are now on their way to recovery. We have had Super Saturday with up to 48 patients. There is confidence that by the end of May the position should have recovered, to see women with surgery referral within seven days. We’re quite confident.”

An official report stated the amount of time people were waiting for referral for treatment generally had improved at Doncaster Teaching Hospitals since February.

It stated outpatient departments had suffered reduced capacity for face-to face activity due to Covid-safe working.

As part of a recovery plan, the hospitals trust had implemented a series of improvements since early March, with over 6,155 letters being sent out to long waiting patients. To date only 78 patients had requested to be removed from the waiting list.

Work has been approved to maximise outpatient waiting areas, increasing face to face capacity, by adding screens in waiting areas to reduce social distancing.

There are plans to make operating theatres more productive.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.