Homerton hospital: Delayed and cancelled treatments returning to pre-pandemic levels

A member of staff wearing PPE walks through a ward for Covid patients at King's College Hospital

Homerton Hospital has recovered significantly from previous waves of Covid, with many delayed or cancelled treatments back to or below pre-pandemic levels - Credit: PA

The number of people who had treatments cancelled or postponed at Homerton University Hospital had fallen by the end of 2021, after the number of delays soared in 2020 when the pandemic was at its worst.

A freedom of information request revealed that the number of delayed and cancelled endoscopies are now close to pre-pandemic levels.

Two hundred and sixty nine people had endoscopies cancelled or delayed in 2021, compared to 860 in 2020 and 224 in 2019 (the year before the pandemic).

The number of patients that had their cancer treatment delayed or cancelled was actually lower in 2021 than it was in 2019, with 26 cancer patients having their treatment delayed in 2021, compared to 46 in 2019.

In 2020, 78 cancer patients had their treatment postponed or cancelled.

The number of other routine procedures that were delayed or cancelled in 2021 was 1,727, compared to 2,094 in 2020 and 1,282 in 2019.

A spokesperson for Homerton Hospital told the Gazette that they are “relatively pleased” with Homerton’s performance.

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“Pre-pandemic we were the best performing hospital” in terms of the number of people who had to wait no more than 18 weeks for elective treatment," they said.

“We were top of the tree. 

“We started doing elective surgery again in June 2020." 

The hospital had to stop doing elective surgery again during the second wave in the winter of 2020-2021, but started again in the spring of 2021.

“There have been bumps in the road [but] we were one of the first hospitals to get going again," said the spokesperson. 

They explained how critical care beds are essential for elective surgery.

The Homerton Hospital spokesperson added: “During the height of the first two Covid Waves, demands were high for critical care beds and indeed we increased capacity last January (during the second wave) to more than 30 beds.

"During both waves, elective work was suspended”.

“During this Omicron wave, demands have not been so high on critical care beds so we have been able to continue elective procedures throughout”.

Covid cases have dropped significantly since they peaked in the week ending December 21, from 2440 per 100,000 people to 613 in the week ending January 25.