SIXTY FIVE per cent of patients offered privately provided operations on the mainland have turned them down, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust has reported.

With a backlog of over a year for some orthopaedic surgery, private mainland surgery was seen as a way to clear the flow, but many Islanders are saying no to going across the water.

Joe Smyth, trust chief operating officer, said the refusals were something that needed to be addressed.

He said:  "While we have the significant backlogs and all of the capacity we could use on the mainland to treat patients, it is going to continue to cause congestion and delay treatment for those patients who are unable to access care on the mainland."

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More than 400 patients were asked whether they would like private treatment and while some have taken up the offer, the majority have rejected.

Size restrictions of St Mary's operating theatres mean restoring its services to full capacity was going to be 'quite difficult' as suites could not be divided into emergency and elective theatres.

Read more: Ops cancelled at Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Theatre capacity for inpatient procedures is up to 66 per cent, with day cases at 77 per cent, and while other measures have been implemented including operations later in the day and on Saturdays, the private sector was one of the main hopes to clear the backlog.

Read more: Private ops to be offered to Isle of Wight patients to clear Covid backlog

As of August this year, 454 people on the Island were going to have to wait over 52 weeks for operations, which is causing great concern for the trust.

People facing a 52-week wait are mainly patients needing hip or knee replacements — with most of those unable to go to the independent sector due to other conditions and mobility issues, meaning they would not be accepted for private treatment.

Mr Smyth said that in particular was going to be 'a difficult nut to crack'.

Other services are being restarted within the trust after their suspension and reduction due to Covid-19, following the approval of a financial package at September's trust board meeting.

In endoscopy services, Saturday lists have been introduced and capacity stands at 118 per cent compared to last year, which means it is able to meet current demand as well as starting to clear the backlog.

Strict infection, prevention and control measures are still in place at the hospital to stop the spread of coronavirus as cases are starting to rise on the Island.