South East Wales

Health board cancels 13,000 operations as patients unfit

A doctor performing surgery Image copyright Thinkstock

More than 13,000 operations have been cancelled by one health board since 2013 as patients were unfit to go through with them.

Illness, pre-existing conditions or people not following pre-surgery guidance were among the reasons Aneurin Bevan health board scrapped surgeries.

There were 3,514 cancellations in 2013-14, 3,860 in 2014-15, 3,643 in 2015-16 and 1,986 so far in 2016.

The health board said cancellations had reduced in the past year.

Checks are made on people going under the knife to ensure they are able to go through with it and if any problems appear, their surgery is cancelled.

The gynaecology team and trauma and orthopaedic department were two specialties with the highest number of cancellations where people were deemed unfit for surgery.

Between 2013 and 2016, these departments cancelled 2,885 and 2,328 operations respectively.

More than 130 operations had to be called off as people had not followed the instructions they were not given prior to surgery, such as not eating or drinking before going under the knife.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: "Unfortunately it is sometimes necessary to cancel non essential surgery when a patient is unwell and not fit for surgery or has not followed pre operative advice.

"These numbers are relatively low, and our figures indicate that the instances of cancellations have reduced during the last year and it is important that we continue to work with and support our patient to rearrange their surgery as soon as possible."

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