Local NHS leader thanks staff for mammoth efforts to reduce the longest waits

10 August 2022

Statement from Simon Whitehouse, Chief Executive Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin:

Following the announcement that the NHS has met its target to reduce the number of people unnecessarily waiting more than two years for planned treatment, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to all our staff working across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin for their vital contribution.

The NHS Elective Recovery Plan set the target of eliminating two year waits by July 2022, except in cases where patients choose to wait longer or require complex treatment in certain specialities.

This has been a mammoth effort involving our staff and partners from across the local health and care system.

Thanks to everyone’s hard work and commitment to our patients, especially given the unrelenting pressures on our system and workforce over the last couple of years, I am incredibly proud to say we have made great strides in reducing these longest waits and providing care for those in greatest need.

On recognising this progress, I am also very aware that these waits have impacted on the ability for local residents to get on with their lives. We retain a relentless daily focus on getting these cohorts of patients treated as quickly as possible.

Whilst this is a significant achievement to celebrate, we also recognise there is still a lot more to do as we head towards another challenging winter.

We have ambitious plans in place as a whole health and care system to continue to improve the experience of our patients and staff. This includes the opening of our first community diagnostic centre next year and expanding new and innovative approaches such as virtual consultations and patient-initiated follow-ups.


Notes to editor:
• Patients remaining on the waiting lists fall under three categories – capacity, complex, and choice
• Choice: Patients who have been offered a choice of another provider, but declined this offer (to remain with local hospital) and therefore chosen to wait longer than 104 weeks by the end of July 2022; or patients who have chosen to wait longer than 104 weeks by the end of July 2022 for other reasons.
• Complex: This includes where it would not be clinically safe to move a patient to another provider. This can only be determined by a clinician who has reviewed the patient record and spoken with the patient. Examples include patients waiting for complex spinal surgery that can and should only be performed in a commissioned Specialist Spinal Surgery Centre.
• Capacity/other: The remaining patients waiting over two years, who do not fall into the complexity or choice categories.
• In the West Midlands, latest figures, subject to ongoing validation, show that 251 patients are now waiting, of whom 83 opted to defer treatment and 168 were very complex cases.

Page last updated 10 August 2022