Last-minute hospital operation cancellations at 15-year high

The number of hospital operations cancelled at the last minute because of a lack of staff or beds has risen to its highest in 15 years, new NHS figures show.

A total of 74,086 patients in England suffered the frustration of their procedure being postponed at the 11th hour during 2015-16 for what the NHS calls “non-clinical reasons”.

Experts warned that the data was another sign that standards are slipping as the health service comes under increasingly heavy pressure. The 74,086 is the biggest total since 2001-02 when 81,743 patients experienced the same delay at the last moment. That was 2,604 (4%) up on the 71,482 such cancellations seen during the previous year.

“These are not just statistics, these are people’s lives and delayed operations can impede a patient’s quality of life”, said Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association.

Full story in The Guardian 13 May 2016