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Patients asked to travel 200 miles in push to cut elective waits

PUBLISHED

Long waiting times at Devon’s acute hospitals have forced commissioners to offer patients treatment 200 miles away in London in a bid to reduce the elective backlog.

Devon Clinical Commissioning Group has secured extra capacity for patients requiring complex orthopaedic surgery under a new deal with the South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre, located at Epsom General Hospital.

The NHS-run orthopaedic centre is around 170 miles from Exeter in east Devon and 210 miles from Plymouth in west Devon. Many patients have declined to go, despite the CCG offering to cover their travel costs.

It is the longest publicly reported distance patients are being sent for elective treatment in the NHS, with patients usually referred to neighbouring hospitals or integrated care systems if there is no capacity at their local provider.

Nearly 1,500 patients in the Devon ICS have waited longer than two years for treatment. The latest national data for England showed nearly 23,000 patients had been waiting longer than two years in January.

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Source: HSJ, 8 April 2022

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