NHS Borders defends cancelled operation rate rise

Image source, MJ Richardson

NHS Borders has defended its record on cancelled operations after a rise in rates in the region.

Levels increased to 10.8% of all planned procedures in October compared with 7.1% the previous month.

The health board admitted that half of the cases were for "capacity or non-clinical" reasons. It added they were not decisions which were taken lightly.

However, it stressed that the remainder had been cancelled by the patients themselves or due to a clinical reason.

Medical director Dr Cliff Sharp said: "Coming into hospital for an operation is an anxious time for many people and we know how important it is to patients that you are treated as soon as possible.

"During October, 50 out of a total of 464 planned procedures were cancelled, half of which were for 'capacity or non-clinical' reasons.

"The other half were cancelled either by the patient themselves - 11 cases - or for a clinical reason by NHS Borders - 14 cases."

'Appropriate wards'

He said there were a variety of factors behind the "capacity or non-clinical" cancellations.

"In six cases, due to demand in the BGH, there were no beds available in the appropriate wards to admit patients to, in five cases emergencies had to take priority and in four cases sickness absence was the cause," he said.

"A further three procedures were deferred in the interest of patient safety, until an intensive care bed was available for the patients who would have required that level of care after their surgery.

"We continue to work very hard to drive down cancellation rates, regardless of monthly fluctuation, in order to improve the patient experience in this area."

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