Health chiefs pledge to reduce cancelled operations

HEALTH chiefs last night said they were working hard to keep last minute cancelled operations to a minimum following the release of latest Government figures.

Ipswich Hospital postponed 80 operations for non-clinical reasons between April and June this year - a slight rise on 12 months earlier.

The figures have been released by the Department of Health and also show that of those operations nine patients were not treated within 28 days of the cancellation.

Last year there were 69 cancelled operations for the same period, with four patients not seen within 28 days of the postponement.

In 2008/9 it was as high as 187 cancelled operations between April and June, with eight patients not seen within 28 days of cancellation.

Last night Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said: “We would obviously like to be in a position where no operations are cancelled. It is very distressing for the patient and also upsetting for the medical team who were getting ready to welcome that patient.

“One cancellation is one too many and it is not acceptable. However, unfortunately sometimes we do have to postpone because of circumstances out of our control. For example if the surgeon or one of their team is ill or if we have had a particularly busy time and there is not an appropriate bed available.”

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She said the hospital was currently looking at more ways to ensure patients were brought in as soon as possible after a postponement.

At West Suffolk Hospital there were 44 last minute cancellations from April-June - with all patients treated within 28 days.

Last year the figure stood at 66 cancelled operations and in 2008/9 the number was 68.

Gwen Nuttall, executive chief operating officer at the hospital, said they did everything they could to avoid cancellations.

She said they were pleased the number fell but were always looking to improve further.