Why are we waiting? – Understanding Hospital Waiting Times

By Lee Ronan, Commercial Director, CSL

Understanding hospital waiting times at a Trust level can add context as to why you aren’t achieving the sales you would like.

The “My Planned Care” portal allows selection by health region, NHS Trust and required medicine specialty, whilst seeing the current mean wait times for appointments.

CSL uses technology to gather data from the website across trust and specialty and collates this to create a complete dataset of the available information.

For example, average wait times are getting longer, as the below chart shows.

We focused on some core specialities, and when we looked at the national level, waits for a first outpatient appointment are either flat or increasing. This could either be because more people are being referred by their GP. Or less appointments are being delivered than planned or required.

When we look at an example spread for a particular therapy area by Trust, in this case dermatology, we can see how Trusts are performing within that therapy area. For dermatology, worst wait is at 38 weeks with the best at 7 weeks. We see similar spreads for other specialities.

These are waits for first outpatient appointments. It can be assumed that if the wait for a first appointment is going up, this will also be the case for follow-up appointments.

If we show the data over time, we see a link with the quicker waits getting better and the longer waits getting worse. 

However, the overall picture is a bit bleak, with not much improvement going on – with 50% of Trusts performing worse, 20% are flat and only 30% are improving.

Are Trusts always good or always bad?

We ranked Trusts on each speciality, and then brought them together to see if there are any Trusts that are consistently good or consistently bad.  So in this example we have trusts along the x axis, and average rank as the y axis.  Bottom left is the longest waits, top right the shortest waits.

There are some Trusts that seem to be consistently at either end of the table.  There are also quite a few that only struggle in 1 or 2 specialities. Manchester University NHS trust though is one on the left which has higher waits for almost a 1/3rd of all specialities. 

These are just a couple of examples of the insights we can surface from My Planned Care. If you would like to arrange a call to discuss further, or support generating insights to help understand product performance, please do not hesitate to get in touch at info@csl-uk.com or call us on 01483 528302.


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