Bed shortages see 149 operations cancelled in one year at Russells Hall Hospital

Almost 150 patients faced cancelled operations at Russells Hall Hospital due to bed shortages last year – five times more than the year before, new figures have revealed.

Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, where bed blocking has reached an 'all-time high'
Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, where bed blocking has reached an 'all-time high'

A total of 149 people had their scheduled procedures cancelled at the Dudley hospital last year. This increased from 29 in 2015.

It comes after hospital bosses revealed bed blocking had reached an ‘all-time high’ in March – due to delays in the transfer of patients.

Dudley Group NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, revealed the latest figures after being asked in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request ‘how many operations have been cancelled due to bed shortages over the past three years’.

The hospital replied with the figures, which also showed 81 operations were cancelled in 2014, but would not comment because of purdah.

December 2016 saw the biggest number of cancelled operations in one month from the past three years, totalling 47.

Out of the 149 cancelled operations last year, the hospital said 104 of the patients were operated on within 28 days of their procedure being called off, 33 were operated on after 28 days and 12 were not operated on.

In 2015, 23 patients out of the 29 were operated on within 28 days, five were operated on after 28 days and one did not have the operation.

In 2014, 59 of the 81 were operated on within 28 days, 18 had their operation after 28 days and four were not operated on.

Patients operated on 28 days or more from their original scheduled operation included some who had chosen to wait longer.

Some had chosen not to undergo procedures, while in other cases operations were no longer required, the trust said.

Dudley UKIP councillor Paul Brothwood said: “The NHS is really feeling the brunt of the cuts. I don’t want to see any figures like that. Unless massive investment is made, we should expect to see more cancellations.

“The key thing is where the money is spent – more needs to be invested in front line services in hospitals to avoid the cancellations.”

The number of people no longer needing to be in hospital rose after Christmas with the most up-to-date total being 154.

At the end of January the trust said 682 out of 723 beds at the hospital were full, more than the 85 per cent, which NHS safety guidelines state should be the maximum.

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