Patients will feel let down by waiting time failure

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There are those who will say that the Queen Alexandra Hospital’s inability to meet waiting list targets is close to lamentable.

Many more will feel that it’s worse than that, especially because this appears to be more than an unfortunate blip.

The statistics clearly show that Portsmouth’s super-hospital has suffered a downward slide when it comes to seeing patients referred by GPs.

This kind of month-on-month decline won’t reassure anyone waiting for an appointment.

When you’re ill, in pain, or worried about your health, every day counts.

Going to the GP may have already taken some time, so once you’ve been told further action is needed it’s crucial that the next step is as swift as possible.

Patients waiting for a hospital appointment are in limbo until that happens and that’s simply not good enough at an already worrying time.

The most recent figures show that is the experience of around a third of patients who are having to wait more than 18 weeks to be seen and treated.

Yet the majority of hospitals do hit the 90 per cent target and that means serious questions need to be asked at the QA.

We know that healthcare services have felt the squeeze from spending cuts, but most hospitals can see and treat patients within the time limit. So why is that not the case in Portsmouth?

A considerable amount of money has been pumped into this particular hospital, so people will feel they have a right to expect much better.

The hospital trust’s position as third worst in the country will not sound like a good deal to taxpayers who already have concerns.

If a private business was to put in a similar performance, its management would find themselves under considerable scrutiny. Critics will ask what procedures are in place to make sure that the same can be said of the QA?

Chief operating officer Cherry West says she expects the target to be hit by the end of the year. We must all hope that is the case – and will be watching to see that it is.