Thousands of patients are having their operations cancelled on the day of their scheduled surgery, leading to significant psychological burden.
A new report from the charity The Patients Association has revealed that thousands of patients are having their operations cancelled on the day of their scheduled surgery, leading to significant psychological burden. In addition, tens of thousands are being forced to wait for longer than 18 weeks for routine operations.
Equipment shortages, a lack of beds and scheduling errors were the main excuses given to patients for cancelling their elective surgeries on the day, the report states.
The new report, Feeling The Wait, found that during 2015 hospital trusts across England cancelled an average of 753 operations on the day. The total number of surgeries cancelled by individual trusts ranged from eight to 3,269. The average waiting times for five procedures - hip replacement, knee replacement, hernia, adenoid and tonsillectomies - are above 100 days, the Patients Association said.
The report states: "We have grown increasingly concerned at the waits patients are facing for surgery and the amount of patients who have had their operation cancelled on the day."
It adds: "There is a significant psychological burden on patients waiting to be given a date for surgery and for patients whose surgery has been cancelled (often on the day the surgery was due to take place)."
Increase in waiting times
Meanwhile, the report also highlighted "substantial" increases in the number of patients who are waiting more than 18 weeks for routine operations.
"This year's report based on 2015 data shows that on the whole, waiting times are getting worse, not better," the authors wrote.
Their analysis show that the number of patients waiting for elective surgical procedures - such as hip or knee operations - over 18 weeks during 2015 was 92,739, compared to 51,388 in 2014 - a rise of around 80%.
The report is based on responses to 112 Freedom of Information requests sent to NHS Trusts across England.