The waiting list for appointments at Royal Berkshire Hospital has gone up by around 7,500 patients in the last eight months.

The coronavirus crisis has had a significant impact on capacity at the Reading hospital and waiting times for patients seeking treatment, particularly on follow-up appointments.

Speaking at Royal Berkshire Hospital’s delayed AGM for 2019/20 Dom Hardy, chief operating officer at the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, announced the figures in response to a public question.

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He said: “Covid has had a significant impact on capacity and waiting times for patients.

“Dealing with the Covid outbreak and the steps the trust had to take to deal with Covid and other urgent conditions during that period had a significant impact on our capacity and on our waiting times for some patients.

“We realise the impact this will have had for some of our patients and we are urgently addressing this now.

“We have now restored almost all of our services, most at or even above normal capacities and we are making progress in treating more patients and reducing waiting times.”

In February, before the UK went into lockdown due to the Covid pandemic, the waiting list for ‘follow-up’ appointments had 12,000 people on it.

In October, this same list now has 18,000 people on it.

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The waiting list for ‘elective inpatient and day care’ – this is care that is planned in advance including specialist clinical care and surgery – has gone up from 7,500 to 11,000 patients.

However, the waiting list for ‘outpatient’ appointments has gone down from 17,000 to 15,000 due to a drop in demand.

Inpatient care is for patients whose condition requires admission to a hospital, while outpatient care is for patients who may need clinical services but do not necessarily need to be admitted to hospital.