MORE than 60,000 people are on the waiting list for treatment at the health trust which runs Colchester Hospital.

Last figures for the East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, show there were 63,916 patients awaiting treatment with 1,847 of them being on the list for more than 52 weeks.

The NHS data shows there are 10,170 people waiting for general surgery with 791 waiting more than a year.

Patients with trauma and those requiring orthopaedic treatment were also affected by the backlogs, with more than 8,000 being on the waiting list over the same period with 435 waiting for more than a year.

There were also 5,392 patients queuing for ear, nose and throat services and 5,675 waiting for treatment from a dermatologist.

Neill Moloney, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals, said: “Our hardworking teams have been doing absolutely everything they can to tackle our waiting lists and treat our patients as quickly and safely as possible.

“We remain determined to keep our routine and elective surgery going in all our hospitals, but there are some instances where unforeseen circumstances may lead to a small number of cancellations, due to staff sickness for example.

“The Omicron Covid-19 wave clearly presents us with challenges, but every NHS Trust up and down the country is dealing with these challenges too, it is not a unique situation at our Trust.

“We are keeping the situation under close and regular review at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals so we can safely care for both our Covid-19 patients and patients who need emergency and urgent treatment too.”

Separate data also suggests the trust has seen a drop in emergency admissions in the past month but attendances were higher than over the same period last year.

NHS data shows 21,579 patients visited A&E units in December, down from 22,341 in November.

However, this is 43 per cent more than the 15,097 patients seen in December 2020.