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CRISIS FEARS AS NUMBER OF CANCELLED OPS SOARS; Hundreds forced to wait 'because of A&E pressure'.

Byline: HELEN HUNT ECHO Reporter helen.hunt@trinitymirror.com helen_echo @

AN A&E crisis has led to a huge increase in cancelled operations, according to MPs.

Wavertree MP Luciana Berger has joined fellow Labour MP Andy Burnham in highlighting the number of times patients have been let down by cancelled operations - sometimes just hours before surgery.

They believe the root cause behind the cancellations is A&E departments struggling to cope, which means the whole of the hospital system is affected, with operations having to be cancelled when more urgent cases need to be admitted.

Figures released by the Labour Party for July to September of this year show local hospitals cancelled operations as many as 576 times at the last minute for non-clinical reasons.

This compares with 457 during the same period last year. The figures are for routine operations cancelled on or after the day the patient was admitted to hospital, including the day of surgery, for non-clinical reasons.

Join on our Facebook page face com/poolecho The Royal College of Surgeons has said previously that operations are cancelled to free up beds because too many people are being admitted to wards via A&E. In the Merseyside area, last minute cancellations have increased by 30% compared with the same period last year.

This compares with a national increase of only 5%.

Ms Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree and Labour's shadow public health minister, said: "People are not only waiting longer for operations but increasing numbers in Merseyside now face the appalling situation of preparing for treatment only to be let down just hours before surgery.

"A number of my constituents have told me of how their operations have been cancelled multiple times.

the conversation "There's only one person to blame for the crisis in our local NHS and that's David Cameron."

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theliver Alder Hey Children's Hospital cancelled 54 operations in 2013 and 93 in 2014 - and 15 children had still not had their operation 28 days later; Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital cancelled 19 operations in 2013 and 33 in 2014; Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals cancelled 55 in 2013 and 113 in 2014; Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals cancelled 52 in 2013 and 78 in 2014; The Walton Centre cancelled 28 in 2013 and 39 in 2014 and Wirral Hospitals cancelled 73 in 2013 and 75 in 2014.

But some hospitals cancelled fewer in that period. Liverpool Women's Hospital cancelled 22 operations in 2013 and only 16 in 2014; St Helens and Knowsley hospitals cancelled 79 in 2013 and 67 in 2014 and Fazakerley hospital cancelled 75 in 2013 and 62 in 2014.

The Walton Centre, the Women's and Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital do not have A&Es but can still be affected by A&E pressures. As specialist hospitals, they accept patients from other hospitals but can then have difficulty handing them back if the receiving hospital is full.

Dr Peter Williams, medical director at the Royal, said: "Compared to this time last year, we have seen a 14% increase in emergency admissions.

We're seeing more very sick patients with complex needs.

"The number of postponed operations needs to be taken into context with the increase in operations we have carried out, which is around 11 more each day.

"Out of all those planned operations we have carried out, the number of postponed opera-tions is 0.83% of that total."

Richard McCarthy, deputy director of performance for Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals, said: "A decision to cancel is taken at a senior level, only as a last resort and often as a result of pressure on A&E. "There is no national standard for cancelled operations. However, we do comply with the standards that require we offer the patient another appointment within 28 days and that no urgent operation should be cancelled for a second time."

He said they recognised cancelling operations was not acceptable and the trust had agreed an action plan to minimise future cancellations. A spokesman for Fazakerley hospital said: "We're pleased to see these figures showing a drop in last minute cancellations for our patients, but we are not complacent."

A spokesperson for St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals said: "As a trust, we do all that we can to avoid cancelling operations at short notice.

"The number of operations cancelled has reduced this year."

CAPTION(S):

Luciana Berger blames | |the figures entirely on David Cameron

Fazakerley Hospital's total of cancelled operations rose to 75 | | There was a 72% year-on-year increase in cancellations at Alder Hey | |
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 17, 2014
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