Ipswich: Fewer operations cancelled at Ipswich Hospital

IPSWICH: Last-minute operation cancellations by Ipswich Hospital for non-clinical reasons fell by 11 per cent between 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.

The drop at the hospital in Heath Road is more than double the national average of five per cent.

In the financial year 2009-2010 cancelled operations totalled at 364 and in 2010-2011 this fell to 328, Department of Health figures revealed.

Meanwhile, last minute cancellations at West Suffolk Hospital fell by three per cent, which is slightly below the national average. From 2009-2010, 226 operations were halted for non-clinical reasons and 219 were cancelled in 2010-2011.

John Watson, director of operations at Ipswich Hospital, said he was “pleased” recent figures show an improvement.

“We are increasing the number of operations performed as day cases in our Raedwald Day Surgery Centre and this means fewer operations are impacted when the rest of the hospital is busy,” he said.

“Day cases are also very popular with patients as they find it a better experience.

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“We would obviously like to be in a position where none are cancelled but sometimes find ourselves in 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.”

Gwen Nuttall, chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital said the facility tries to avoid last minute cancellations because staff know how “upsetting” this can be for patients.

She said: “We have been working hard to reduce the number of last minute cancellations by introducing a range of initiatives to ensure we use our theatre time more efficiently.”

Dr John Lister, information director of national hospital campaign group London Health Emergency, said it is important to keep cancellations to a minimum. “If you cancel at the last minute you are obliged to treat that patient within a month and this has a knock-on effect on hospital staff and other referrals,” he said.