Worcestershire A&Es Cancels Operations Due To Demand

Bosses At Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust Saw A 10 Per Cent Growth In Emergency Admissions


All non-essential operations and appointments at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch have been cancelled.

Bosses from the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust revealed they saw a ten per cent increase in the number of people using its accident and emergency (A&E) facilities between November 30th and December 15th, reports the BBC.

This has resulted in a considerable backlog and doctors have now decided to cancel or postpone hundreds of operations in order to get the situation back to normal. It is not known how many patients have had their appointments disrupted.

Trust deputy chief executive Chris Tidman stated it will take around two weeks before regular surgical procedures get back underway.

"If we feel operations can be rescheduled in the next two to three weeks that's what we'll do but we're putting all patients on standby the night before and then confirming appointments," Mr Tidman said.

"Normally, the first two weeks in January are the busiest of the year. It could mean another two weeks before we get back to normal but we are reviewing it on a day-by-day basis."

As the cancellation of operations begins to come into effect, the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has said it will open 56 additional beds to cope with the needs of people who might need monitoring or observation.

Executives also revealed they will take "radical" measures to resolve the situation if it gets any worse, although it was not confirmed what this would involve.

A&E services across the UK have been strained in recent weeks as the pressures of austerity measures, coupled with an ageing population, start to take effect.

But the government argues it is dealing with the problem. The Department of Health announced in November 2013 it will make 3,000 extra staff available across the NHS this winter to help deal with increased demand.

This came after a pledge to provide cash-strapped A&E units with £250 million in funding if they faced a crisis situation this winter.

Expert Opinion
The increase in emergency admission is a major concern for the Trust at one of the busiest times of the year. It is worrying that so many operations have had to be rescheduled due to the sudden rise in admissions causing such a backlog for many patients.

“The NHS’s ultimate goal should be to ensure that patients get the best quality care at the first time of asking, as this would not only reduce repeat visits to hospital but also cut the number of cases which A&Es need to deal with on a daily basis.

“It is clear there is much to be done on the issue and steps must be taken to consider what can be improved to cut A&E visits. The wellbeing and safety of all patients must be the number one priority.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner