Ipswich Hospital ops cancelled every day

Nearly one operation is cancelled at the last minute every day at Ipswich Hospital, latest statistics reveal today.

IPSWICH: Nearly one operation is cancelled at the last minute every day at Ipswich Hospital, latest statistics reveal today.

Figures released by the Department of Health show that 168 operations scheduled to take place at the Heath Road site were cancelled at short notice for non-clinical reasons over a six-month period.

Between April and June, there were 69 cancelled operations, and 99 from July to September.

Health campaigner Prue Rush questioned whether the staffing levels are adequate to deal with sickness and emergencies, however the hospital claims it is about better managing its resources.

Mrs Rush said: “It is a terribly difficult time for the patients and family members who have taken time off work to care for the patients.

“Are staff numbers so stretched that a few people going off sick is causing so much disruption? I would suggest they are running at a minimum staff level.

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“It is easy for management to cancel operations but it is not so easy for families and patients to fit in with new times. It is a traumatic time for anyone who has had an operation cancelled. Having surgery cancelled at the last minute increases that stress.

“I know they do not do it on purpose and it is done to keep the patients safe but you have to look at the staffing levels.”

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said: “Any cancelled operation is one too many. It is highly stressful to the patients and the staff involved.

“The reasons why we have to cancel for non-clinical reasons are around getting the resources in the same place at the same time. It is about having specialist staff in place-having the right level of nursing available after the operation such as high dependency beds. “If a key member of staff is off sick, there is nothing we can do. These are the explanations but they do not justify it.

“We are doing a lot more to limit the numbers of cancelled operations. We are changing the way we work in hospitals so we can protect planned operations. When we are very busy, we have to make decisions so we can stop elective work if there is an influx of emergency patients.”

Have you had a bad experience with cancelled operations? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.