The North East’s NHS trust providing mental health care has been praised despite an acknowledgement it failed to hit its targets over the past year.
Chloe Mann, the group director of the Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, explained that the trust had “partially met” three of its targets in 2022-23, but acknowledged it had failed to improve waiting times.
The director was delivering the trust’s annual quality accounts at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s health and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee.
The targets labelled partially met were:
- Improving the inpatient experience
- Support service users and carers to be heard
- Equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights in terms of clinical effectiveness
Ms Mann said there had been a “significant increase” in the number of adults waiting more than 18 weeks for a diagnosis, with the majority of adults on the waiting list for either ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ADHD waiting lists made up 41% of all patients as of March 31, while ASD made up 22%.
The report presented to members showed that, in 2022/23, 63% of adults waited more than 18 weeks for a diagnosis, compared to 40% the previous year. The raw numbers were even starker, with 975 in 2022/23 compared to just 219 in 2021.
In terms of ASD, 90 patients waited more than 18 weeks for a diagnosis in 2021/22, but this figure had risen to 533 in 2022/23.
However, Ms Mann pointed out that the trust’s children and young people’s services continued to perform “very well” and that teams had been “working tirelessly”.
Labour’s Coun Les Bowman, who represents the Holywell ward, was quick to praise the trust.
He said: “I think it needs to be said – you do a fantastic job, it must be difficult working with young people with mental health issues. I take my hat off to you.
“It would be nice to get the waiting list down and get people seen sooner, but keep up the good work.”
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