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Cancelled op numbers on the rise.

Byline: Sarah Walker Health Reporter

A TOTAL of 270 operations were cancelled at Teesside hospital trusts on the day they were due to go ahead last year, due to bed and staff shortages.

Figures show that at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust alone, which has 1,280 adult inpatient beds, there were 236 same-day cancellations in 2012-2013, compared to 184 in 2011-2012 and 210 in the previous year.

Of these, 187 were due to bed shortages at the trust, which runs James Cook University Hospital in Middles-brough, and 49 were due to staff shortages.

At North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which has 580 beds, there were 34 same day cancellations last year, compared to 20 in 2011 to 2012 and 33 in 2010 to 2011.

This resulted from 12 bed shortages at the Stockton-based trust and 22 staff shortages.

A spokeswoman for the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the same day cancellations due to bed shortages increased in 2012/13 due to well-documented winter pressures, which started early in September and carried on right through until March.

She said: "Last winter we saw a huge rise in the number of ambulances bringing emergency patients and many more frail, elderly people with respiratory illness being admitted to hospital and staying with us longer.

"As a consequence, we had to cancel many planned operations. A lot of work has been done to understand the issues of 2012-2013 to try to avoid a repeat of last year, including improving our discharge processes, opening a new ward at James Cook and putting more support into frontline services."

As part of this work, the South Tees trust is currently investing PS8.2m in improving A&E services this year, including the employment of 135 staff and introduction of 50 additional beds.

The South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is providing PS1,024,414 one-off funding to help the trust to cope in coming months.

As reported, South Tees trust also recently bene-fited from PS2,148,000 from NHS England, from a national PS150m pot to tackle winter pressures.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust received PS1m from the same NHS England fund. Susan Watson, pictured, director of operational service at South Tees Hospitals said: "Extra resource has been provided from a combination of funds from the local clinical commissioning group and national money to make our services more resilient throughout the challenging winter months." She added this will include increasing the resuscitation capacity in accident and emergency at James Cook.

Money will also be spent at South Tees on opening more beds to support emergency surgery and increasing therapists in the community to support patients to get home quicker.

Increased weekend cover in the pharmacy to support patient discharge from hospital and the recruitment of two additional medical consultants at South Tees will also be funded.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Dec 23, 2013
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