Cancelled operations rise at Weston General Hospital
PUBLISHED: 08:58 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 08:58 09 May 2017
People needing joint replacements, biopsies and even heart surgery have had their procedures cancelled by Weston General Hospital this year, as the number of cancelled operations has risen dramatically.
Junior doctor strikes, unprecedented demand during the winter, and wards being shut due to norovirus meant 177 pre-planned operations were cancelled in the past year – 103 more than in the 12 months previously.
The Weston-super-Mare hospital is run by Weston Area Health NHS Trust. Its director of operations Phil Walmsley told the Mercury it ‘historically’ has a good record when it comes to meeting planned operations but admitted the past year has been challenging.
The hospital is currently reviewing how it uses its operating theatres, and may soon offer more pre-planned surgeries and fewer emergency operations.
But 177 pre-planned operations were cancelled in the past year, including five cardiac operations, 33 knee surgeries and 16 hip operations.
Mercury reader Mark Robert Bolam said his surgery was delayed by five months, and added: “Every discharge letter from the hospital stated I needed surgery if I (was) admitted again – it wasn’t until I went septic and the tumour had reached 17.5cm and (I was) days away from dying, Weston General looked into giving me surgery.”
Anthony Hoskins had a shoulder operation cancelled five times, and Jo Ingram had her operation cancelled the afternoon before she was due for surgery, and she waited five weeks for a new date.
She said: “The worst part is, no-one seems to care about the impact it has when you have to rearrange for another time.”
Chris Cox, who works at the hospital, said staff are disappointed when cancellations are made, but emergency situations mean it cannot be helped.
Mr Walmsley told the Mercury cancellations can be ‘distressing’ for patients, but said despite an ‘exceptionally busy’ few months, the hospital has performed 1,170 planned operations since January, out of 1,274 booked in.
He added: “We recognise we have more work to do.
“Patients can be assured we never take the decision to postpone an operation lightly.
“Our aim is always to reschedule any appointment and provide a new date for surgery as quickly as possible.”