With the exception of one hospital in Torbay, all the hospitals in the South West have shown year on year increases in cancelled operations. The trusts have said that the operation were cancelled as no beds were available. The increases vary from 4% to 136% at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, 156 operations in all. North Devon Healthcare cancelled 341 operations at the last minute, a 51% increase year on year.
As well as causing anxiety & risks to patients, cancelled operations cancelled on the day of admission are expensive. Trusts do not get paid for the original or the re-scheduled operation. These costs can run into tens of thousands of pounds.
The issue is becoming a political hot potato, with Labour blaming Government reforms. The conservatives say that, although emergency funding is being provided, there needs to be changes in the way the NHS operates to cope with these pressures.
One Deputy COO told Checklist “we knew we had a problem coming, but we could have handled it better if we had more warning of the scale”.
For further information see Checklist Bed Manager.