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Orthopaedic Waiting Times Increase

Guernsey's Health Committee and the Medical Specialist Group have published annual performance figures for the secondary healthcare contract.

The report highlights improvements in many areas such as the correct use of off-island procedures, complaints resolved within target times, and meeting expected timings for operating theatres.

But orthopaedic surgery waiting times have gone up:

Dr Peter Rabey, HSC Medical Director says it is undeniable that the pandemic has been a huge factor:

"Just at the start of the pandemic we'd done a big project to lower the orthopaedic waiting times, and in fact we'd got the waiting list down to around 350 patients - so we'd cleared a lot of patients during 2019.

But we've lost all of those gains during the pandemic and I regret to say orthopaedic waiting times have gone up."

Chair of the MSG, Dr Gary Yarwood says other factors also impacted on waiting times:

"We've got care home patients in Giffard Ward, which is a surgical ward, and we've had to move surgical patients to areas of the hospital where orthopaedic patients would go, so effectively (for) all patients who would need a bed to stay in hospital there's been a reduction in capacity."

At the end of the year we finished off with Omicron which, although it didn't make patients particularly unwell, it affected a lot of our staff. So we had a huge amount of staff sickness, and obviously you need nurses as well as the beds to do surgery."

Emergency Department waiting times fell just short of the target of 95% of patients being either admitted or discharged within four hours or arrival, with a figure of 89% achieved. The comparable NHS figure is 74%.

The report shows target waiting times for emergency, urgent, cancer and routine referrals were achieved for 71% of outpatients and 61% of inpatients overall but almost all patients (94%) were seen within six months of referral.

Dr Yarwood says nursing recruitment and retention continues to be a problem especially as wages are higher in Jersey: 

"Jersey does take some of our nurses unfortunately, particularly couples. Pre-pandemic we lost four husband and wife ICU nursing pairs to Jersey."

Dr Peter Rabey, says the support of the public has been exceptional and has made a real difference to all that has been achieved during this unprecedented time.

"The Hospital Modernisation Programme along with a new, modern, Electronic Patient Records system will help HSC and MSG to improve the KPIs by reducing waiting times and streamlining administrative processes."

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