When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Number of cancelled operations is soaring
THE number of operations cancelled in Southampton on the day patients expect to go under the knife is soaring, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Latest figures show that Southampton General Hospital is not only missing its target when it comes to cancelling surgery on the day, but the number increased by 43 per cent between December and January.
In January 2.1 per cent of elective surgery – 102 operations – were cancelled on the day they were meant to take place. That was more than double the 0.8 per cent monthly target compared to December, when 71 operations were cancelled.
The monthly target has only been hit on four occasions since April last year and hospital chiefs have been warned there remains a “significant risk” it won’t have been hit in February.
One patient who has had their operation cancelled just hours before they were due in theatre is little girl Kirsten Hopson, from Dibden Purlieu.
She could stop breathing at any moment, but her operation was taken off the list at the last minute because there were not enough beds.
The seven-year-old and her parents had been told four weeks ago by her consultant that she needed an operation within a fortnight so that doctors could investigate what was going on inside her throat and stop the sudden swelling that blocks her airways. But on arrival at hospital at 7.30am on Tuesday this week her family was told three hours later that her surgery had to be cancelled.
Having already been rushed to accident and emergency twice in December after her parents were unable to get her breathing steadily again they are frustrated that such an important operation was cancelled.
Dad Perry said: “At the moment I am not sleeping because we just do not know when she will stop breathing, so I need to be there for her should it happen during the night.
“She is in constant discomfort, it is affecting her schoolwork.
“I am incredibly frustrated and concerned about my daughter.”
Hospital bosses have blamed “operational pressures” for the increase in December and January and have re-designated one theatre a day from elective to emergency surgery in a bid to curb the problem.
Apologising for the cancellation the hospital said that it had to prioritise patients based on clinical need, which can result in longer waits for others.
Andy Hyett, director of performance at University Hospital Southampton, said that the number of operations cancelled reflects the size of the trust, which admitted more than 17,500 patients for planned surgery in December.
He added: “Unfortunately we had to cancel a number of non-urgent procedures during this period to manage a particularly high number of emergency admissions, but we do understand the upset and distress it causes and are working hard to ensure we reduce the number wherever we can.”