Rise in Cheshire hospital operation cancellations | Knutsford Times

Rise in Cheshire hospital operation cancellations

By on January 2, 2019

The number of surgeries cancelled in Cheshire has risen by more than 60% in 2017/18 compared to the previous year. The number of cancelled surgeries jumped by more than 60% in 2017/18 compared to figures for the previous year. There was an increase in the number of last minute cancelled operations in 2017/18, with 2,179 cancelled surgeries on the day..


This is a jump of 64% when compared to the previous year (2016/17) when the number was 1,331, according to figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request.

The most common reason for operations being cancelled was due to theatre lists over-running or a lack of time to operate

Hospitals in the UK are only required to record details of last minute cancellations and although some record all cancellations, not all of them do as surgeries cancelled well in advance are often rescheduled.

The figures have come from FOI requests sent to all 170 hospital trusts and health boards across Britain.

The data, obtained from the 164 trusts that responded, shows that hospitals across Britain cancelled 238,000 operations in 2017/18, including all types of cancellations – the equivalent of a cancellation every two minutes on average.

Jon Ashworth, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Cancelled operations on this scale is nothing short of a scandal and comes on the back of years of Tory cuts to hospital beds, austerity and chronic staff shortages.

“Behind these statistics are thousands of people waiting longer and longer in pain and anxiety for an operation, with huge risks their health will deteriorate further. Ministers should hang their heads in shame for what they have done to our NHS. Theresa May can’t ignore the reality of the crisis in our NHS.”

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The whole of the NHS is under pressure during the winter months, and difficult decisions need to be made to prioritise those most in need right across the board. GPs and our teams are very aware that when hospital operations are cancelled, this can lead to a surge in patients contacting their local surgery asking for advice about next steps, asking for further sick notes and painkillers and asking if there is anything their family doctor can do to help them.

“It’s important during planning for winter pressures to remember they are not just confined to hospitals and that GPs and their teams are also working flat out to try and cope with demand. With flu season approaching its peak and more cold weather on the way, it’s unlikely that there’ll be let up anytime soon.”

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons said: “It is of deep concern that the NHS has seen an increase in the number of operations cancelled last year for non-clinical reasons, such as lack of beds and staff or admin errors.

“It’s stressful and disappointing for patients and their families to prepare for surgery only to have it cancelled. Some patient’s conditions may even deteriorate while they wait. With the winter months of January and February ahead, when hospitals tend to experience increased pressure and bed shortages, it seems inevitable that there will be further cancellations. Patients will be left waiting longer for their operations potentially in pain and with limited ability to carry out their day-to-day tasks. Surgeons are concerned that hospitals are struggling in part because cuts to beds have gone too far.”

An NHS spokesman said: “Despite significant pressure, in England fewer than 1% of operations are postponed on the day with just 0.9% cancelled in the last three months. Nurses, doctors and NHS leaders across the country are also rightly prioritising emergency patients over winter.”

About Lucy Thorpe

Lucy Thorpe is a freelance journalist who writes for the Knutsford Times - covering stories and news in and around Cheshire and Greater Manchester. If you've got a story to share, or would like to speak to Lucy, please email news@knutsfordtimes.co.uk

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