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Waiting time is slashed after paper steps in

The intervention of the Taunton Times cut an elderly woman’s wait for hospital treatment from more than a year… down to five weeks.

The 79-year-old was told she faced a 63-week wait for a consultation before treatment to a painful neck and spine condition at Musgrove Park Hospital.

She was told she would be called in 57 weeks to agree an appointment.Joyce Robinson has been a regular patient at the hospital for three years, ever since she broke her hip, and has nothing but praise for the care she receives.

But she said her letter for an appointment about her painful neck read like a bad music hall joke.

She said: “I am not a complainer but this is an injustice.

“To tell someone of my age to wait more than a year is almost funny.”

The Taunton Times has been highlighting complaints that waiting lists and waiting times are still too long, after a succession of initiatives to cut them.

And after the paper got in touch with the hospital over Mrs Robinson’s case, she got a phone call to say that an appointment had been found only five weeks away, at the beginning of December.

The hospital Trust explained that patients automatically get a standard letter to make early contact then the file is seen by a consultant who prioritises appointments before a second letter is sent.

A spokesman said: “This case was no different.”

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