Hundreds of Sandwell operations cancelled on the day
Hundreds of patients have had operations cancelled at the last minute as a health trust fails to meet national targets.
National guidelines say no more than 0.8 per cent of operations should be cancelled at the last minute due to ‘non-clinical’ reasons.
But in July the figure for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust was 1.2 per cent or 51 operations. The worst month was February, which saw 67 operations cancelled on the day, 1.7 per cent. Between August 2016 and July there were a total of 640 cancelled operations.
Health bosses said 50 per cent of the cancellations were avoidable, but they vowed to make improvements.
The worst affected department was ophthalmology, with 50 per cent of operations cancelled in the last five months due to non-clinical reasons.
A hospital report said the performance in the last five months showed a deterioration compared to the same time period last year, indicating the issue has got worse.
The report said: “Hospital cancellations on the day of surgery result in delayed access to treatment and impact negatively on patients who have both emotionally prepared themselves for surgery and have re-organised their lives to support it.
“Organisationally, excessive cancellations erode the ability of the trust to meet its delivery of planned care to time and budget. Review of the last five months performance in 2017 compared with the previous year demonstrates that performance has markedly deteriorated, although there has been a 47 per cent improvement between April and August 2017.”
Trust bosses have set out a plan to reduce these figures. They aim to prevent cancellations by improving preparations.
The ops were cancelled for reasons including communication errors, equipment not being available, notes missing or not fully checked, no theatre time or no anaesthetist.
Rachel Barlow, chief operating officer, said: “We apologise to patients whose operations have been rescheduled. We are working hard to minimise cancellations and have already seen improvements. We aim to be in line with the national standard of less than 0.8 per cent of surgical procedures cancelled due to non-clinical reasons by the end of December 2017.”