An NHS trust has apologised to thousands of patients who have been waiting more than 18 weeks for routine appointments.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which manages Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, issued the apology after it resumed publishing its non-urgent waiting times almost four years after it suspended the practice due to technical issues.

New data, released on June 14, shows that in April 88,333 patients were waiting for routine treatment, of which 13,988 had been waiting longer than the national standard of 18 weeks.

During the same month, 36 people were found to be waiting more than 52 weeks, something the trust says it plans to clear up by the end of the financial year.

Chief executive Alwen Williams, said: “I am very sorry that too many patients are waiting too long for their treatment.

“We are determined to improve waiting times for our patients and our new improved waiting list systems will help us to do just that.

“I would like to pay tribute to the teams who have identified and fixed significant technical issues within our systems, and I am grateful for the support we have had from other organisations.

“It was clearly unacceptable that we weren’t able to report data for so long, but it was crucial that we got to the root of the problem and we are now confident that these significant issues have been fixed once and for all.”

In August 2014, Barts Health Board suspended reporting of non-urgent waiting times while an investigation was carried out and a new waiting list was put together.

Pockets of data that had not been properly processed were found and identified as the cause of the problem.

A large chunk of the data was found to be from patients who had been either treated, discharged or no longer required care, but whose names remained on the waiting list.

Doctors undertook a review for each patient waiting more than a year, and found that although some were inconvenienced, none have experienced significant harm.

The newly-released data shows that eight out of 10 patients who had been referred to a consultant were waiting within the national standard and the average time people had been waiting was under eight weeks.