FEWER patients are waiting more than two years for treatment in Oxfordshire, according to new NHS figures.

Oxford University Hospitals Trust, which runs the John Radcliffe and the Churchill hospitals, the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, has seen a fall in the number of patients facing the longest waits for treatment.

As part of an effort to clear the backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic, NHS England committed in February to ending waits of more than two years, except in cases where the patient wishes to delay their treatment.

New figures show there were 14 patients waiting this long for routine treatment at the trust as of July 3 – the latest available data – down from 58 at the end of February.

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Across England, the number of patients waiting two years or more fell from a peak of 23,778 in January to 3,548 at the start of July.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: "During what has been a challenging time for the NHS, staff have worked hard and cared for patients needing critical care while continuing to see as many non-urgent patients as possible.

“We thank our staff who have worked incredibly hard to care for our patients, including those who have waited the longest, as quickly as possible.  We know that waiting for treatment can be a worrying time for our patients, and we are doing all that we can to tackle this.

“Patients waiting for treatment will be prioritised based on clinical need, and we continue to urge anyone who needs help to come forward to get the care they need.”

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Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: "These figures show our hardworking teams across the country are making good progress in addressing the Covid backlogs, with record numbers of diagnostic tests and checks in May, and fewer people facing the longest waits for elective care."

But he warned that more work is needed for the NHS to catch up.

Professor Powis added: “There is no doubt the NHS still faces significant pressures, from rising Covid admissions, thousands of staff absences due to the virus, the heatwave, and record demand for ambulances and emergency care."

Despite the fall in extremely long waits, the latest available data shows 332,000 patients across England had been on treatment waiting lists for longer than a year as of May – including 1,152 patients at the trust.

Nationally, this was an increase of 21,000 from December.

As of May, 61,718 people were waiting to be treated at the trust – with a record 6.6 million people waiting across England as a whole.

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers. 

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi