Operation waiting list grows at St George's Hospital Trust amid A&E closure plans
Almost 25,000 patients are waiting for treatment across the Wandsworth's hospitals and health centres.
Figures revealed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) show the number of people waiting for treatment at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust in June this year was up 3 per cent on 2012 to a staggering 24,182.
The number is likely to worsen fears over the trust's ability to cope if other accident and emergency closures are pushed through elsewhere in south-west London and Surrey.
Of the 24,182 waiting, 1,252 have been on a waiting list longer than 18 weeks - a 24 per cent improvement compared to last year.
Sue Tarr, operational manager, said: "Cuts to nursing posts in both hospital and community settings meant that trusts just weren’t able to cope with the rising demand for A&E over Easter.
"The direct knock on result is more and more patients having to wait longer for non-urgent operations."
The trust, which is the busiest in the south west London area has the biggest waiting list in the region and includes St George's Hospital, Tooting, Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, and 11 health centres.
St George's Hospital is set to take in thousands more patients if the Government approves the NHS's Better Services Better Value (BSBV) Review, which is proposed to close neighbouring A&E at St Helier Hospital and Epsom Hospital.
Campaign group Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) is calling for a secret ballot of GPs in Wandsworth to find out if they support BSBV.
A ballot of Epsom GPs found the majority of doctors did not support the closures and KONP want to find out what Wandsworth doctors think of the effect will be on St George's Hospital.
Further figures from the RCN show 2,599 patients were also waiting for operations at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG), an increase of two per cent.
A total of 127 people were forced to wait for more than 18 weeks, an increase of 43 per cent.
The RCN said nationally waiting lists have hit a five year high, with resources becoming increasingly stretched.
A spokesman for St George's Hospital said: "St George’s Healthcare provides services for more than one million patients every year and is one of the busiest NHS trusts in south west London.
"It is very important that even for more complex referrals the trust can provide timely access to clinics, diagnostics and treatment.
"Figures show that 94.8 per cent of the 24,000 patients waiting at the end of June were waiting less than 18 weeks, above the national target of 92 per cent.
"Half of these patients had waited less than six weeks from their referral."
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