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Operations to be reclassified

PUBLISHED: 11:39 14 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:10 03 March 2010

MANY hospital patients will no longer have their operations cancelled at the last minute.

Most routine ops which don't look possible, will simply be 'postponed' or 'rescheduled' at an earlier stage, in a bid to improve the statistics, the Evening Star can reveal today.

MANY hospital patients will no longer have their operations cancelled at the last minute.

Most routine ops which don't look possible, will simply be 'postponed' or 'rescheduled' at an earlier stage, in a bid to improve the statistics, the Evening Star can reveal today.

Ipswich Hospital had to cancel 56 operations on the day patients were due to be admitted, during November, latest figures have revealed.

A new system has been designed, to reduce the number cancelled on the day of admission – a statistic regularly monitored by the hospital.

Patients waiting for routine operations are traditionally sent a letter telling them an operation date, and asking them to phone that morning to confirm there is a bed free.

Under the new system, patients will instead be put on 'standby,' and staff will telephone them at least 48 hours before they are due to be admitted, to explain the options, including rescheduling if beds are looking full.

But the fact remains that many will not be able to have their operation on the date originally planned.

Rescheduled operations will not count as 'last minute cancellations.'

A hospital spokeswoman said: "The new system is within normal Government guidelines.

"The idea is to give people more information and choice."

Of the 56 operations cancelled on the day of admission in November, 36 were called off due to a lack of beds. Another nine patients were admitted but couldn't be operated on because the operating theatres were too busy, and two patients needed an intensive care bed which wasn't available.

The hospital was required to see them all again within a month, but it didn't manage to do that for 38 people.

At the time, the hospital was coping with a record level of emergency admissions – a 4.8 per cent increase in emergency admissions and a 12.3pc increase in emergency admissions to Medicine and Elderly Services.

Peter Morris, chief executive, said: "It is very frustrating and distressing for everyone involved when planned treatment has to be postponed.

"We have a new early notification system, which on the one hand ensures that as many operations as possible go ahead but also informs people about likely cancellations at an earlier stage."

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