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RCS calls for more surgical hubs as last minute cancellations are on the rise

NHS figures show that over 21,053 operations were cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons in the three months to the end of March 2024. The figures also show the total waiting list for NHS consultant-led hospital treatment decreased by 916 to 7.54 million.

Some patients are on multiple pathways. The number of unique patients is estimated to be around 6.3 million, according to NHS England.

Cancelled operations data show 4,770 patients were not treated within 28 days of their cancellation, in a breach of national targets. The data sets out operations that were cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons. A last-minute cancellation is one that occurs on the day the patient was due to arrive, after they have arrived in hospital or on the day of their operation.

According to the latest data the number of patients waiting more than 78 weeks for treatment is 4,770. There were 48,968 patients waiting over 65 weeks. NHS England's operational planning guidance for 2024/25 has set a target to eliminate waits over 65 weeks as soon as possible and by September 2024 at the latest.

Responding to the figures, Professor Fiona Myint, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: “When an operation is cancelled for non-clinical reasons, we’re letting down our patients at the last minute. Many of them have lived with pain and discomfort for too long, and that’s unacceptable.”

“It’s time we addressed critical workforce issues across the NHS. Our latest census shows we're facing a lack of surgeons, anaesthetists and theatre staff. We also need more operating theatres and ringfenced beds for surgical patients to tackle waiting times - all of which require further funding from the Government.”

The RCS England is urging the establishment of more dedicated surgical hubs to address the waiting list crisis and ensure that planned operations can proceed without additional postponements.

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Upcoming Events

BAUN Summer Educational Event – Essential Urology Skills

Crowne Plaza, Newcastle Stephenson Quarter
6th June 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Exeter

University of Exeter
22nd June 2024

EBME Expo

Coventry Building Society Arena
26th - 27th June 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - Cardiff

TBA, Cardiff
13th July 2024

AfPP Annual Conference 2024

University of Warwick
2nd - 3rd August 2024

The AfPP Roadshow - London

Cavendish Conference Centre, London
14th September 2024

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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