A hospital trust in Liverpool is making significant progress in reducing waiting times for its patients, sustaining improvement against national NHS England targets.

Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT), which runs Aintree University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, the Liverpool University Dental Hospital and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, has most recently eliminated 78-week waits, despite the continued high levels of demand for NHS services.

This is a significant achievement which means 15,000 patients who had faced the longest waits have now received their appointment or care, aside from those patients who have chosen to delay the start of their treatment.

Earlier this year, NHS England tasked all hospital trusts with eliminating 78-week waits by the end of March 2023. LUHFT was one of the few Trusts to achieve this target and has since continued to improve on that position.

By the end of July 2023, 85% of the Trust’s patients waiting longer than 72 weeks for care requiring a hospital stay and 66 weeks for outpatient care have now been seen. LUHFT has also been progressing well around reducing its cancer waiting times.

This continued achievement is thanks to the sustained efforts of staff working collaboratively across the Trust’s hospital sites – and this learning has also been shared with other hospital trusts from across the country.

LUHFT is working towards delivering further reductions in line with NHS England’s performance target for trusts to virtually eliminate waits of over 65-weeks by March 2024.  

To continue to reduce waiting times, teams have been making best use of theatres, diagnostics and outpatient clinic capacity – for example, by operating at weekends – as well as using innovative technology, such as robot-assisted surgery.

Waiting times have also been brought down by providing innovative day case joint replacements, which have been available at Broadgreen Hospital since 2022, and mean patients can go home on the day of their surgery. This compares to traditional joint replacement surgery, which requires two to three nights’ stay in hospital afterwards.  

James Sumner, Chief Executive at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our amazing teams have worked relentlessly, despite the challenges faced by the NHS over recent months, to ensure that patients are getting the treatment they need as soon as possible. Reducing these waiting times is testament to the immense efforts, compassion and desire of our teams to provide our patients with the care they need.”