Scores of patients have been harmed, with one left to go blind by a trust accused of fiddling waiting lists.
Watchdogs inspecting Kettering General Hospital found 25,000 patients appeared to be waiting more than a year for surgery, with allegations they had been removed from official waiting lists.
Now an investigation by the NHS trust has established that 138 patients came to harm as a result of the waits – including a patient who suffered substantial sight loss as a result.
A hospital trust governor claims patients were removed from lists because national targets were being missed.
David Phelan, who raised concerns under whistleblowing procedures, was working as a general manager in the trauma and orthopaedics department when he discovered discrepancies in waiting times data, in October 2015.
He says the trust manipulated the figures to avoid being fined.
The trust insists that there was no deliberate manipulation of the data, but said “unacceptable” administrative blunders were behind the failings.
Its probe found that 282 patients have now been waiting at least a year for surgery, with 138 patients coming to harm as a result of long waits.