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Operations cancelled as pressure for beds builds.

Byline: Tom Bodden

MORE than 140 operations have already been cancelled in North Wales this year due to emergencies and pressure for beds.

Meanwhile, more than 180 beds remain blocked at any one time by mainly elderly patients who have recovered but are waiting to be discharged.

Non-urgent surgery and routine procedures are postponed by emergencies taking precedence, overruns in theatres or lack of beds, hospital administrators said yesterday.

At Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, just under 60 operations have been cancelled in six weeks, 56 in Wrexham Maelor and 32 at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor.

The North Wales hospital with most beds blocked by patients is Wrexham Maelor with 129.

Hospital trust spokesman Andy Scotson stressed that most beds were cleared after one or two days, or a week to 10 days, while one patient had waited more than six months.

``Delayed transfers of care happen for a variety of reasons,'' he said.

Most common were social reasons, awaiting a care assessment, health reasons, or patient choice, where they were unhappy with a suggested residential or nursing home.

But he insisted that bed blocking was not the sole reason for operations being cancelled.

``Perhaps there is no high dependency bed available for a major operation, an emergency can come in and take the theatre time, surgery can overrun because of unexpected complications, or staff sickness can force a cancellation,'' said Mr Scotson.

Before Christmas, the hospital suffered from an attack of the so-called winter vomiting bug which forced ward closures and affected the waiting lists for surgery.

Ysbyty Glan Clwyd said that its record of delayed discharge at around 30 beds at any one time was the third lowest figure in Wales.

At Ysbyty Gwynedd, trust spokesman Alan Parry said a string of initiatives aimed to reduce the need for some patients to be admitted to hospital, including a rapid access chest pain clinic, and outpatient deep vein thrombosis clinic.

The number of beds blocked at 24 was the lowest in Wales.

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WREXHAM MAELOR: The North Wales hospital with most beds blocked by patients
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Article Details
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:Feb 19, 2003
Words:345
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