More than 10 days of strike action since the start of the year has made it "more difficult" to meet elective recovery objectives, as over 580 patients wait more than 65 weeks, the boss of a Suffolk hospital trust has said.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dr Ewen CameronDr Ewen Cameron (Image: WSFT)In a report before West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's board of directors, which met on Friday, chief executive officer Dr Ewen Cameron told of the impact of industrial action at the Bury St Edmunds hospital.

He said: "With more than 10 days of industrial action having taken place since the start of 2024, there has been an impact on our elective recovery, which will make it more difficult for us to meet our 2023/24 elective recovery objectives by 31 March 2024.

"As of the end of February 2024, there were 580 patients waiting over 65 weeks.


"It is worth noting that in April 2023 there were 15,878 patients to treat in the 65-week wait cohort, so this reduction in the number of patients waiting is a huge achievement." 

He added that, as of the end of last month, the trust's longest waiting patients stood at 61 waiting more than 78 weeks.

In February, the trust received funding of £1.3million in relation to costs that were incurred as a result of the industrial action during December and January. 

With this funding, the trust has forecast that it will meet the expected £6.3m deficit at the end of the financial year.

Dr Cameron's comments come days after junior doctors in England voted by a huge margin to continue taking industrial action for the next six months in their long-running pay dispute.

East Anglian Daily Times: Health Secretary Victoria AtkinsHealth Secretary Victoria Atkins (Image: WSFT)

The British Medical Association urged Victoria Atkins, the Health Secretary, to make a new offer after announcing that its members backed more action by 98%.