Op delays are getting longer

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More Wigan patients are having to wait longer for care after having surgery cancelled at the last minute.

NHS England figures show 208 operations were axed at the l11th hour by Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust between October and December.

And 23 of those patients - 11 per cent - did not have the procedure rescheduled within 28 days. That compares to 192 cancellations in the same period the year before and just six patients - 3.1 per cent - waiting more than 28 days.

The NHS classes “last minute” as operations stood down on the day the patient was due to arrive, after the patient has arrived in hospital or on the day of the operation or surgery.

The hospital is supposed to offer a new date within 28 days and those rearranged within 24 hours are classed as postponed, rather than cancelled.

Nationally, 21,249 operations were pulled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons by NHS providers in the last quarter of 2016. That compared to 18,393 cancellations in the same period in 2015 - an increase of 15.5 per cent.

Of those, 1,551 patients (7.3 per cent) were not treated within 28 days of the cancellation, compared to 1,092 (5.9 per cent) the year before.

Reasons given include bed shortages, staff unavailabilty, emergency cases taking priority or the patients own cancellation.

Cancelled operations - number of people not treated within 28 days:

October to December 2015: 192 - 6

January to March 2016: 158 - 12

April to June 2016: 181 - 13

July to September 2016: 170 - 18

October to December 2016: 208 - 23

A WWL spokesman said that in line with NHS standards it does do aim to re-schedule patients who are cancelled on the day within 28 days. In the majority of cases they manage this but because of the persistent pressures on bed availability, the number of patients given dates after 28 days has increased.”