Sheffield hospitals cancel over 1,500 operations in one year

Hospitals in Sheffield cancelled over 1,500 operations in one year due bed availability, staff shortage and problems with theatres, new figures show.

Thursday, 16th February 2017, 6:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:54 am
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust cancelled over 1,500 operations from in one year. Picture: Rui Viera/PA

In a report presented to Sheffield Hospital Trust board members, the latest figures show 82 operations were cancelled in December to due to non-clinical reasons.

In the same month, around 39 per cent of the cancellations were attributed to bed availability, 22 per cent to theatre issues and 15 per cent to staffing problems.

Northern General Hospital accounted for 65 per cent of cancelled operations in December

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Just under two-thirds of cancellations were at the Northern General and 28 per cent were at the Hallamshire.

Cardiology accounted for 16 per cent of the cancellations, colorectal surgery for 10 per cent, spinal surgery, urology and vascular radiology each accounted for seven per cent of the cancellations.

The report cited a lack of bed availability was linked to the increase in delays for social care and subsequent decrease in discharges and increased bed occupancy.

But health bosses at said the figure accounts for less than one per cent of all operations carried out between November 2015 and November 2016 and praised hard working staff in bringing the number down.

The Royal Hallamshire Hospital accounted for 28 per cent of cancelled operations in December

Speaking at the meeting earlier this week, Sheffield hospitals trust chief Kirsten Major said the number was falling but the latest figure was 'still too high'.

In the last 12 months, the Trust only hit their target of 75 cancelled operations on just one month.

The figure hit a peak in June 2016 when around 180 people had their operations cancelled. The next three months saw a sharp fall of around 50 per cent but this jumped back up to around 160 in October.

Kirsten Major, director of strategy and operations, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “During the last three months we carried out over 35,000 operations and less than one per cent of these had to be postponed.

Northern General Hospital accounted for 65 per cent of cancelled operations in December

"Indeed over recent months we’ve seen fewer and fewer operations cancelled. This is testament to how hard our staff work despite the busy winter period which always sees additional needs for theatres and beds due to an increase in emergency patients whose needs must be prioritised.

"We try our utmost not to cancel operations because we know how distressing this is for patients and their families.”

The Royal Hallamshire Hospital accounted for 28 per cent of cancelled operations in December