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Wakefield hospital patients referred to Leeds are waiting over a year for treatment

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Patients from Wakefield undergoing treatment in Leeds are waiting longer than a whole year for the help they need.

At least 18 people from the district who had been referred to Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT) since April 2017 were found to have not received treatment within the 52 week target set by the government.

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NHS patients are routinely sent to neighbouring towns and cities by their GPs for medical attention if it is felt their condition is better treated outside of their own area.

But there is now “significant concern” about the numbers of people from Wakefield who’ve experienced delays. Of the 18 who’d passed the 52 week threshold, six were flagged up to health bosses at the end of June. Data for July and August is not yet available.

Wakefield CCG have contacted their counterparts in Leeds about the issue and have been told a “recovery plan” is in place.

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Speaking at the CCG board meeting on Tuesday, chairman Dr Phil Earnshaw said: “We’d got used to 52 week breaches being very rare. But now we’ve had six in the last month (for which data is available).

“Not being in Leeds I feel a bit disempowered. I want to be assured somebody will listen to the concerns we have.”

One of the options being considered is whether or not the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust, which runs Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals, could take on the patients themselves.

A further update on the situation is expected in the coming weeks.

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The CCG’s chief finance officer Jonathan Webb said: “It does remain a significant concern for us.

“It is a system issue, but we want to make sure we do the right thing for our patients.”

A spokesperson for Leeds CCG said: “NHS Leeds CCG, as the co-ordinating commissioner for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, continues to work with the Trust and its partners across West Yorkshire to try to find enough capacity to treat the complex patients who are waiting for extended periods.

“All partners are concerned about the impact on patient experience that such long waits will be having and are doing their best to find ways to treat them as quickly as possible.”