Borough's hospitals still axing hundreds of operations

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
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Hundreds of operations are being cancelled at the last minute at the borough’s hospitals, it can be revealed.

New figures from NHS England show 217 elective procedures were axed for non-clinical reasons between January and March.

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That was a drop from 222 cancellations in the previous quarter and from 233 in the same period last year.

Of those cancelled over the three months, 13 were not rescheduled within 28 days - six per cent.

The NHS classes “last minute” as cancelled on the day the patient was due to arrive, after the patient has arrived or on the day of the operation.

Cancellations can be due to hospital issues, such as a lack of beds, but can also be the patient’s choice.

A new date for the procedure is supposed to be offered within 28 days.

The data shows a total of 839 planned operations at Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust were scrapped at the last minute in 2017-18. That was a 5.93 per cent rise on the 792 cancellations in the previous year.

Of the 2017-18 cancellations, 45 procedures - 5.36 per cent - were not carried out within four weeks, dropping from 66 - 8.33 per cent - the year before.

The Post contacted the trust about surgical postponements but it did not respond before publication.

But earlier this year, a spokesman said the top three reasons for cancelled operations were patient request, lack of theatre time and patients’ failing to attend.

Over the winter, the trust decided not to perform routine surgery on patients requiring an overnight bed and focused on day cases and the acutely ill.

To reduce last minute cancellations, if a procedure is being booked under two weeks’ notice from date of listing the admissions team rings the patient to confirm the date is acceptable.

If more than six weeks away, the patients receive a letter to attend for their operation and two weeks before they are contacted to confirm they will attend.