'Alarming' NHS surgery backlog has left thousands 'in limbo'

The figures suggest the proportion of A&E patients facing such waits has doubled in the last year

Nhs, Coronavirus

12/7/2021 1:00:00 PM

⚠️ More than 7,000 NHS operations are being cancelled every month, according to “alarming” statistics

The figures suggest the proportion of A&E patients facing such waits has doubled in the last year

The figures from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) also reveal 20,000 patients who have spent more than 12 hours in Accident & Emergency departments on trolleys, amid a growing crisis..The Royal College of Surgeons said the statistics, collected by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), were "alarming," with thousands of patients left “in limbo” and pain.

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The data from 40 NHS hospitals show some 6,726 elective care operations were cancelled in November, while in October the figure was 6,335.Since the pandemic, the NHS has stopped recording the number of cancelled operations.But latest published figures, for autumn 2019, suggest that the numbers being postponed have quadrupled.

While the RCEM figures come from a survey of 40 hospitals, they show almost as many cancellations as the 8,500 a month previously reported by all 160 NHS trusts.'Urgent effort' required to free up beds for patients who need an operation Professor Neil Mortensen, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: "It is very alarming that more than 13,000 planned operations were cancelled in the past two months alone. headtopics.com

"This means thousands of patients who had prepared themselves for vital hip, knee and other types of planned surgery were left waiting in limbo for their treatment."NHS staff are working flat out, but, as this report shows, there simply are not enough hospital beds to meet the huge demands we are seeing in the wake of the pandemic.

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"Colleagues working in emergency medicine have been facing 'winter pressures' since the summer."Their concerns to avoid 'corridor care' are well-founded."An urgent effort is now required to get those patients who are fit to be discharged from hospital back into the community, freeing up beds for patients who need an operation."

NHS cannot 'care for patients properly with bed base the size of a postage stamp' Prof Mortensen said the College agrees with the RCEM that the Government must increase the number of hospital beds."The NHS is staffed by world-leading doctors and nurses - they cannot care for patients properly with a bed base the size of a postage stamp," he added.

Dr Adrian Boyle, Vice-President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said the figures painted a “stark” picture.They follow warnings from the National Audit Office that waiting lists could reach 12 million by March 2025.He said: “The situation is unsustainable; we must see a willingness to address these crises and tackle the problems.” headtopics.com

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Mr Boyle called for an expansion in bed capacity, to prevent ambulance handover delays, as well as hospital overcrowding, leaving patients being housed on hospital corridors.Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said: “It is not good enough for thousands of people in need of operations to have them cancelled, forcing them to wait longer, often in pain and discomfort.

“Waiting lists are already at record levels, yet the Government has no plan to address the chronic shortages in GPs, doctors, nurses and social care staff.”Social care crisis has left hospitals 'grinding to a halt' It follows warnings from NHS leaders that around 10,000 hospital beds are currently occupied by elderly people for want of care to look after them at home.

Senior figures said hospitals were “grinding to a halt” because of a growing crisis in social care, which has left “staggering” numbers of frail and vulnerable people stuck on wards for weeks on end.Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “From our conversations with NHS trust leaders we think around 1 in 10 beds are now occupied by people who are medically fit to be discharged; that’s around 10,000 beds.”

An NHS spokesperson said: “There is no doubt that pressure on the NHS is incredibly high with October seeing the highest ever number of 999 calls answered for a single month as well as being the busiest for major A&Es for that time of the year.

Read more: The Telegraph »

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