Bungle leads to fear of operation crisis

IPSWICH Hospital today denied an operations' crisis after a bungle led to fears of a sharp rise in the figures.It had been reported that the number of cancelled operations had more than doubled in a month, but at a board meeting today it was revealed that at least 25 cases had not been correctly reported.

IPSWICH Hospital today denied an operations crisis after a bungle led to fears of a sharp rise in the figures.

It had been reported that the number of cancelled operations had more than doubled in a month, but at a board meeting today it was revealed 43 cases had not been correctly reported.

A mix-up involving human error and problems with a new computer system meant official papers released were significantly wrong, bosses said.

Instead of the 70 cancelled operations stated in papers prepared for today's hospital board meeting, the real figure is 27.

Eighteen were cancelled because of no bed being available, two were because the surgeon was ill and seven were because of complications in the theatre list.

In May the figure was just over 30.

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Tracy Dowling from the hospital board said: “The figures should only report the number of patients who have had operations cancelled at the last minute, on the day of admission or after they have been admitted, for a non-clinical reason such as we did not have a bed.

“The figures originally reported don't reflect this and the actual number is significantly lower than 70. It is below the previous months rather than above it. From now on we need to make sure data is fully understood.”

Mike Brookes, chairman of the hospital, admitted staff were experiencing difficulties with the computer system particularly when high numbers of staff try to log on at the same time.

While the operation figures were corrected, the board did recognise problems in other areas at the hospital in the meeting. Last month it missed its targets for cutting infections and the hospital is also £1.4 million adrift of its financial recovery plan.

The number of cases of the Clostridium Difficile bug stood at 114 after three months of the 2007/08 year, above the target of 88. A hospital spokesman said it had developed an education programme for patients and staff to try to combat the problem as well as reducing visiting hours.

There were also problems in the accident and emergency department with just over 95 per cent of patients getting seen within four hours compared with the target of 98pc. The hospital said this failure was also linked to the implementation of the new computer system. However it said the new system would ultimately help it manage patient care more efficiently.

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