Black Country ranked 54th for speed of NHS treatment

There are more than 50 areas in the country where patients are more likely to receive quicker hospital treatment than in the Black Country, new figures have shown.

WOLVERHAMPTON COPYRIGHT EXPRESS&STAR TIM THURSFIELD-14/01/21.Pics on Covid ward in ICU at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton...
WOLVERHAMPTON COPYRIGHT EXPRESS&STAR TIM THURSFIELD-14/01/21.Pics on Covid ward in ICU at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton...

The Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was ranked 54th out of 113 organisations in terms of how many people were treated during June. It represented an improvement from April when it was ranked 66th.

During June, 4.74 people per 100,000 of the population received NHS treatment, meaning the CCG was ranked roughly half way between best and worst in the country.

It comes amid a huge backlog of NHS treatment caused by the pandemic.

CCGs in Cannock and Stafford were both ranked inside the top 10 in the country, according to the figures from NHS England, though their lower populations mean there is less of a demand for services.

Stafford and Surrounds CCG was ranked fourth in the country, with 7.17 people per 100,000 receiving treatment. Cannock Chase CCG was ranked ninth with 6.21.

It means people living in Staffordshire are currently among the most likely to receive non-urgent NHS treatment in quick time.

The best performing CCG in the country is Wakefield at 8.77 per 100,000. The worst is Wirral at 2.52. Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin was the fifth worst in the country at 2.93 and Birmingham and Solihull fourth worst with 2.91.

Experts said the figures highlighted the regional disparities in healthcare.

Thousands of operations have been delayed due to Covid, with hospitals now working to tackle the backlog by prioritising those most in need.

There are concerns about the impact on those with serious conditions, such as cancer, who either could not or decided not to seek treatment during the height of the pandemic.

Barbara Harpham, chair of the Medical Technology Group, which released the figures, said: “The regional disparities that were present before the Covid pandemic – resulting from arbitrary decision-making from commissioners - have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“All patients, no matter where they live, deserve the same access to diagnostic tests and interventions. Everyone needs to be treated fairly and equitably as the NHS battles to recover from the enormous impact of Covid.

“We urge NHS England to agree to a post-Covid patient charter that ensures rapid access to treatment and no arbitrary restrictions so patients are certain of the service they will receive.”

Diane Wake, elective care lead for the Black Country and West Birmingham, said: "These figures show a steady month-on-month increase in the number of people receiving non urgent NHS treatment - rising from 4,984 patients in April, to 6,521 in June.

"This encouraging upward trend reflects the ongoing efforts by all our NHS partners to restore services to pre-Covid levels, and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff.

“The mission now is to continue to increase this activity, ensuring that as many people as possible get the treatment they need, prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need, addressing the longest waiters, and being mindful of the health inequalities Covid highlighted.”

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