MORE than 70 people have had to wait over a year for elective surgery at Royal Bolton Hospital.

As of July 2020, 77 patients had been on the waiting list for elective procedures for longer than 52 weeks.

And it was revealed in a health report, that referral times from an NHS cancer screening service to treatment was below target, with only 75 per cent of patients receiving treatment within 62 day. rather than a 90 per cent target.

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton CCG say they are working to ensure that wait times are improved.

On elective care, the report said: “This is a significant concern both locally and nationally.”

Regarding breaches in the 62-day wait for cancer treatment report stated: “There are significant issues with diagnostics at present, mainly relating to endoscopy, which is being monitored at a GM level through the clinical referral group and at a local level through the cancer leads at Bolton Foundation Trust.”

Andy Ennis, chief operating officer at the trust said:“In line with many other trusts in the country, we have seen an increase in urgent and cancer referrals year-round. This increase, along with a set budget and time available to treat patients, has meant that some people needing more routine treatments have unfortunately had to wait longer.

“This, coupled with the ongoing pressures and challenges of Covid-19 has led to some much longer waits for patients than is acceptable.

“We are working with our partners and commissioners in Bolton and at a Greater Manchester level to ensure that those who require urgent treatment are able to access it, and that cancer treatment in particular is prioritised equally across the region.”

Dr Helen Wall, clinical director of commissioning, said: “Elective care is back up and running, but at reduced capacity.”

Cllr Martin Donaghy, chairman of Bolton’s health scrutiny committee, said: “In an ideal world we would have Covid patients on one wing so elective surgery and treatments can go ahead. We appreciate everything the hospital is doing but as we work to get the virus under control we cannot forget the people wanting treatment.”