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Patients could wait over a year for surgery at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, it has been revealed.

One concerned resident had been told the waiting list for orthopaedic surgery at St Mary’s Hospital was 60 weeks long — more than 3 times the maximum waiting time (18 weeks) as laid down in the NHS constitution.

The resident said: “The waiting list is growing weekly — meanwhile patients have to suffer in silence.”

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A raft of measures are being brought in and considered at the Island’s only hospital, including extra scanners and more clinical teams, but the outlook for patients needing inpatient or day surgery is not bright.

The trust says patients could face ‘significant delays’ due to the coronavirus pandemic and there ‘will be some people that will wait more than 12 months for their procedure’.

Clare Gowland, deputy chief operating officer of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, speaking at a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s health scrutiny committee, said it felt it as much as the patients do. She said:

“We have undertaken a review of all patients with extended waiting times and they will be prioritised by clinical order but the three biggest impacts are social distancing, infection prevention and control, and maintaining the Covid and non-Covid flows.”

Elective surgeries, those planned in advance, were stopped at the start of the pandemic to allow the NHS to cope with the virus and treat those who needed it most but the surgeries have been started again — but not at full capacity.

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Operation theatres at St Mary’s are only working at 79% capacity due to infection control between operations but the trust is looking at extending theatre days and has confirmed it is bringing in clinical teams to operate over the weekend.

The use of the mainland’s private sector is also something some patients will be encouraged to consider in an effort to reduce the waiting lists.

Chief executive officer of the trust, Maggie Oldham, said at a board meeting, they would encourage patients to take the offer. She said:

“I want to reassure our community we are focused on recovering those services we were instructed to stop earlier in the pandemic – we do have backlogs and I apologise to those who are experiencing longer waits for their treatments.

“It really is at the forefront of our minds that we do not want to return to some of the extremely long waits we have had in the past.

“It does mean some patients will be offered their treatments off-Island and I know that is met with trepidation and frustration from members of our community.

“We will do what we can here but if we can work with our mainland partners to ensure our community does not have exceptional waits we will encourage patients to have treatments off Island.”

A spokesperson for the Isle of Wight NHS Trust said it had restarted operations and outpatient clinics with staff working tirelessly to ensure people are seen as quickly as possible. They said:

“We are doing everything possible to increase our theatre capacity.

“Keeping everyone safe during the pandemic means fewer people can be on the hospital site at any one time.

“Social distancing, the important infection control measures we have in place and cleaning between procedures mean that it takes longer than normal for each operation.

” Our outpatient department is now open and running at 91 per cent capacity, however, due to social distancing we are not yet able to fully book clinics.

“If anyone has concerns about their care we urge them to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Hang on i was waiting for over a year for an operation before the virus so nothing has changed.

Christ tap

Beat me to it mate lol


With you partner ..only 46..needs a complete shoulder replac with scadden…ges waited a year too already even though he cant do his job and is v limited .sucks at the thought .his life is on hold .limbo city
Hes a young working man and is in waiting list.


Yet these NHS staff expect a two thousand pound pay rise. For what?   You dented your saucepans for nothing.   Many doctors won’t see you, consultants even harder to see, all highly paid, and whilst some staff are at higher risk, most are not ‘more so’ than care home workers, shop workers, teachers etc.   Trying to cash in on the ‘once in a life time’ moment, which if fine IF those who get more have done more, as some will have done, but to milk it for all it wrong.   The NHS needs all the cash it… Read more »


I guess it depends on the urgency but it’s still disgraceful. And their still allowing housing developments whilst not being able to care for the present population !!


Last August I was waiting in hospital bed at St Mary’s for 2 days for ‘emergency’ surgery which eventually took place on a Sunday!


If St Mary’s can’t cope when we didn’t have as many cases as mainland then how are mainland hospitals able to take patients from here. They should never have stopped ops until absolutely necessary I know from people who work there that while we were all banging pans for the NHS the majority of them were sat there twiddling their thumbs. Operations etc should be done at weekends anyway it’s not a 9 to 5 office hour service it’s an emergency service like the Police and fire service what if they only worked 9 to 5 .As said it was… Read more »

Eve Shipman

Unfortunately, our highly-paid surgeons don’t really like to have their weekend golf interrupted by something as mundane as “work”

Mrs brown

And they want a pay rise!!

Ryde Reader

If they build vast new estates and import people to fill them, this situation will get far worse. It is bad enough trying to get a GP and dentist appointments, but if you get a referral it is a year’s wait. No more building of houses until we can attract more doctors and dentists to the Island.


Southampton treatment centre. Can not fault them. Quick turn around. Ask your doctor if you can go their instead.


Rest assured that the IOW councillors won’t be affected by this. They go private of course, with their fat new pay rise.


I will do whatever it takes, never to go to St Mary’s hospital again. I got a very bad infection from there, from a simple operation, they could not do anything, so sent me to mainland to be cured.

Nick Black

Operating theatres are only working at 79% due to infection control between operations.
prior to COVID, we have had such things as MRSA in hospitals, which resulted in entires words being closed.
Isn’t there just the SLIGHTEST hint that maybe cleaning procedures were either nothing being thoroughly carried out previously, or are people now labouring the point?!


nick =when I have spoken to people who are in the 70’s now and were nurses back in the 1960/70/80’s – they stated that they never had these problems – the reason – the nurses cleaned the wards every day and the ward sister, inspected the cleaning done, followed by Matron’s rounds afterwards.
beds pulled out, curtains and blinds cleaned, floors disinfected, patients moved to day rooms whilst cleaning took place, then returned. Everything was thorough – then they decided that nurses wouldn’t clean and the outsourced the cleaning to private firms – the rest,as they say is history


you wont wait a year if you live in one of HMP

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