King George Hospital chief apologises as patients wait a year for care

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Queens and King George hospitals

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Queens and King George hospitals - Credit: Archant

Hospital bosses have apologised to patients after figures revealed 1,000 people had waited more than a year for treatment.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) which runs King George and Queen’s hospitals, said urgent action was being taken to address the problem and provide high quality and accessible care.

His apology came after board papers revealed 1,015 patients had been waiting since January 2015.

The figure was presented following an internal review.

Patients who have waited more than a year are now being contacted by telephone or letter and offered appointments in the coming weeks.

Mr Hopkins said: “It is crucial that patients are seen as quickly as possible and we are sorry that a lot of patients are waiting too long for treatment.

“We have significantly reduced the backlog of patients who have been waiting by putting on extra clinics to see and treat the people who had been waiting too long, but we know there is a much more to do.

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“This year (2015/2016) we will have provided 520,000 outpatient appointments – 25,000 more than last year – and are committed to meeting the waiting time standard by the end of 2016/17.”

BHRUT stopped regularly publishing its waiting times in April 2014 after its recording system was found to be flawed.

In 2013 BHRUT was placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Following an inspection last year, the health watchdog decided the trust should remain in special measures despite making significant improvements.

Earlier this year, Mr Hopkins told the Recorder he was hoping the trust will be taken out of special measures before the end of the year and was confident there will be progress on waiting times.