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Waiting time longer than eight weeks for surgery

News | Published:

ALMOST all surgery will be delivered outside the usual eight-week waiting time because of delays caused by Covid-19, Health & Social Care and MSG have said.

Dr Peter Rabey. (28429313)

However all outpatients services are being delivered within the two- month target.

The pandemic had an impact on delivering normal health and social care services, as patients needed to be protected, the virus spread managed and infected individuals needed care.

Now Guernsey has entered phase five, staff are trying to get more routine care back on track and specific plans are being put in place to address the waiting lists.

The scale of the problem is unclear, as the health bodies have not revealed how many people are waiting.

HSC medical director Dr Peter Rabey said that priority surgical cases, for people in the most critical or urgent situations, were still delivered during the pandemic.

MSG has also managed to do routine outpatient services during lockdown, often over the telephone, via technology or through the use of PPE.

‘As such, all current outpatient services continue to be delivered within eight weeks of GP referral with many experiencing much shorter wait times, depending on the specialism concerned and with the exception of orthopaedics which continues to experience very high levels of demand,’ he said.

The Guernsey Press approached HSC and MSG last week about orthopaedic waiting times, asking how long people were having to wait and how many were waiting, but the newspaper has not had a response.

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There are also delays to day and inpatient procedures, which have not been delivered during lockdown as scheduled operations were postponed during the pandemic. Guernsey’s day patient unit was converted into a specialist Covid-19 intensive care unit during the crisis.

Outpatient activity is now expected to rise significantly, as more islanders feel confident to visit their GP.

HSC and MSG are trying to keep patients informed about waiting times, and a new frequently asked section page has been added to the MSG and the States of Guernsey websites.

Within the PEH, clinical staff are maximising the services that they can deliver across the working week.

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MSG chairman Dr Gary Yarwood said that patients who contact the MSG to enquire about their operation date would not receive definitive information.

‘We are anticipating increased referrals from primary care now that patient confidence to visit healthcare settings has returned and although continuing to improve, PEH theatres are not yet back to full capacity,’ he said.

‘MSG staff will therefore only be able to provide a guide at the present time, based on the wait times experienced by individuals who have recently received surgery, but this may not be indicative of future cases if demand outstrips capacity. There are particularly heavy caseloads to work through in orthopaedics, and specialties, such as ear, nose and throat, will still have restrictions as to the work they can deliver safely in phase five because of the aerosol-generating nature of the related procedures.’

‘Undoubtedly, and principally because of the theatre disruption experienced throughout the pandemic, almost all surgery will be delivered outside of an eight-week wait, for which we apologise.’

It is not possible to achieve full capacity immediately within the PEH, and operations are being postponed if the condition of a patient worsens, if urgent emergency work is prioritised or if specialised nursing/operating department practitioners are unavailable.

HSC and MSG staff are aiming to achieve their pre-Covid-19 normal average workload of approximately 460 day patient and 100 inpatient surgical cases per month as soon as possible.

It is not viable to cut waiting lists using off-island care due to the pressures on the NHS and its own waiting lists.

  • The find out more visit www.msg.gg/faqs-waiting-times/ or www.gov.gg/peh.
Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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