Hospital bosses have admitted a series of failings which left thousands waiting more than four months for routine surgeries.

Northwick Park Hospital, in Watford Way, Harrow, have now put a number of improvements in place to prevent the same blunders from arising again.

Guidelines dictate trusts must treat people within 18 weeks from the date of referral – but figures from last October show 2,700 patients were kept waiting longer.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, chief executive David McVittie admitted the backlog grew because staff did not know how to use the hospital’s operating systems to log appointments.

He said: “I take full responsibility for this – there is no point getting into denial and pretending it’s gone away. The public had a right to know.

“However, the reassuring thing is that no patients were harmed. Nobody died as a result of this. I understand it is an anxious time if you need a procedure and have to wait too long.

“But we will need some time until we can get on top of it all.”

North West London Hospitals NHS Trust has published an external review into what happened, which will be presented to the board tomorrow (Wednesday, April 30).

It revealed 11 patients on the waiting list waited over 52 weeks to have minor orthopaedic surgeries.

After it was discovered 61 urology patients had not been given an appointment in the adequate time frame, weekend and evening clinics were held to clear the backlog.

The report orders the hospital to address the causes by implementing more staff training, guidance on how to use the data systems and making regular treatment lists.

The trust is now treating the longest waiting patients, and starting to reduce the backlog of patients waiting over 18 weeks.

Mr McVittie added: “This is not the end of the journey – we have to maintain our grip and focus on improving 18 week waiting times.

“We will monitor and audit our waiting lists to ensure the changes we have made are embedded across our organisation.”