Patients in Hartlepool have some of the best access to treatments such as pacemakers, cataract surgery, and hip and knee replacements, according to a new study.
NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) scored highly in a report by The Medical Technology Group (MTG), which compared results for 209 commissioners nationwide.
The MTG is a coalition of patient groups, research charities and medical device manufacturers.
It found that NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-On-Tees CCG was top in the country for the rate of patients accessing treatments involving medical technology, including hip replacements, cataract surgery and limb amputations.
And it was ninth nationally when referral to treatment within the NHS 18-week target was factored in.
The report highlighted a north-south divide, with most of the worst-performing commissioning groups in the south.
Barbara Harpham, chairwoman of the MTG, said: “Delivering high quality healthcare, no matter where you live, is one of the fundamental principles of the NHS.
“But budget cuts and rationing is having a huge impact on the service patients receive, and the outcome they can expect.
“There is an unprecedented strain on the health service, and patients are not being given equal access to the treatment – and most importantly – the technology they need.”
The MTG makes seven recommendations to tackle regional differences, including the publication of aggregate waiting times so patients can compare local NHS performances.