• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Oxfordshire patients face delays after cancelled operations


Aug 24, 2022

PATIENTS in Oxfordshire are experiencing surgery delays and cancellations, as shown by new NHS England figures.

According to data from NHS England, one in 10 patients who had their operations cancelled over three months at Oxford University Hospitals Trust, which runs the John Radcliffe and the Churchill hospital and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, were still waiting to be treated four weeks later.

The data shows 100 pre-booked operations at the trust were postponed on or after the day the patient was admitted between April and June.

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The NHS aims to offer all people who have routine surgery cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons another date within 28 days.

But of the patients who had procedures cancelled at the trust, 10 had to wait more than four weeks for a new date – giving a breach rate of 10 per cent.

This was down from 16 per cent in the first three months of the year, and 13 per cent over the same period in 2019-20, before the pandemic.

Jacquie Pearce-Gervis, who chairs Oxford’s Patient Voice group, a patient involvement body focused on the John Radcliffe, said: "These are very alarming figures. We are hearing repeated reports of operations and procedures being cancelled or re-scheduled at very short notice.

“Some are the night before and we heard of one patient who was in the car on his way to the hospital when the postponement came through on his mobile. The reasons given are ‘due to an emergency’ and patients recognise this, but it is happening much too frequently these days.

“We hope the trust appreciates the distress, anger and inconvenience such cancellations and postponements cause to patients' work commitments, family and the general loss of respect it is creating among the public.”

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Lisa Glynn, director of clinical services at the trust, said: “Postponing planned operations is always a matter of great regret as we know that patients will have prepared for an operation and procedure and may have waited some time for the date to come round.

“This may also happen for a variety of reasons. The Trust encourages patients to give feedback on our services and we listen to all comments, pass them on to the relevant services and do our best to address issues raised.”

Across England, 23.6 per cent of hospital patients were not treated with 28 days of a cancelled surgery – up from 23 per cent the previous quarter, and one of the highest rates since records began in 1994.

Common non-clinical reasons for last-minute cancellations include a lack of hospital beds, surgeons being unavailable, emergency cases taking precedence, equipment failure and staff shortages.

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi