THE NHS in Herefordshire has set a target of the end of the month to treat all patients who have waited more than two years.

In documents for June's board meeting, Wye Valley NHS Trust chief executive Glen Burley said that now the number of Covid positive patients was falling, the trust has the chance to tackle the backlog.

Other documents for the meeting showed that at the end of April, around 70 patients were waiting two years or more from referral to treatment.

That is in addition to around 270 waiting 18 months, which should be cleared by April 1, 2023, and 1,223 had been waiting a year – with that backlog hoping to be tackled by April 1, 2024.

The trust, which runs Hereford County Hospital, had a peak of 2,473 patients waiting a year or more in March 2021 – a year after the first coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Burley said: "With the recent relaxation of infection prevention guidelines and the impact of summer we now have a significant window of opportunity to make an impact on the elective care backlog."

He said that in his role as regional chief executive, he showed fellow bosses the requirements of the national recovery plan – the NHS's plan to deliver operations and other non-urgent services after Covid.

He said there was strong regional governance and a support structure in place to tackle the backlog.